Rebecca Eldridge, a teacher at the CFM, wrote this week’s post.
We can’t hide from anything when we meditate—unhealthy relationships, habits that keep us sick and confused, attitudes deemed admirable at work yet obnoxious at home—and sometimes fear of what could arise keeps us off the cushion. It’s brave to sit in silence with the only expert in your life: you.
Besides fear of what could arise keeping us from meditating, I was taught that there are 3 other reasons we don’t practice. Here they are—
1. Forgetting the instruction
When we realize we’ve been highjacked by runaway mind, we return awareness to the present moment. I do this by returning to sensations of breath or body; you may have your own way to come back. But the instruction is always, When you’re lost, come back. When we’re lost in thoughts about a situation that seems serious and complex, the answer is, Come back.
When the mind is running after thoughts that are delicious and seductive, and we don’t want to come back, the answer is Come back anyway.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr Seuss
2. Too much laxity or too much elation
Not only is the answer always Come back—it’s Come back without making a big deal out of our thoughts, our practice, our life (too much elation). But make no mistake: the coming back is firm and definite; we do not wallow in our runaway mind (too much laxity). Nor do we get too lax about what we consider a meditation practice—rationalizing that the 20 minutes we sit quietly watching TV is equivalent to the 20 minutes we sit quietly watching our mind.
When we practice without making too big or too little a deal out of practicing, we might just see things as they actually are. And there’s so much to see.
You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut. -Dr Seuss
A flower growing outside Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan
3. Laziness (aka Extreme busyness)
Keeping our lives jam packed with activities and convincing ourselves that we can’t possibly let anything go is the 3rd obstacle to meditation. An extremely busy life equals an extremely busy mind. While we get applause for doing-doing-doing, it is through the discipline of simply being that we bring a different energy to our efforts, and to the world.
I’m curious—Do you believe that by honoring the space and time it takes to make peace with ourselves, we can create a world that is peaceful too?
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. -Dr Seuss