Today while meditating, I think I stumbled on a truth about myself: It takes me a long time to settle down. Part of this style of meditation is learning to settle on your breathing while letting your thoughts roll along behind them. Dr. Wolfe used the analogy of driving. When we drive we pay attention to driving the car, but we have conversations and we think about other things. Our attention remains on our driving no matter how invested we are in those conversations. Last night, and again this morning, I realized that my attention can remain on my breathing while I am thinking about other things and it takes me this place somewhere between being awake and feeling asleep. Strange noises startle me there, but my thoughts seem clear and concise. They seem like they are running on a projection screen. Dr. Wolfe compared it to a movie theater where the image is being projected onto the front of the screen, but it seems to me to feel more like one of those backlit projections where the image shows through the screen. I say this because when you project something from the front, if someone walks in front of the screen you see a shadow rather than the image. If you project it form the back of the screen, if someone walks in front of the screen you get a clear picture of them and the movie. It is like they are moving together and you can see them both, but you aren’t distracted and no part of either image is compromised. Call me crazy, but that is how meditation is. I can tune in to my breathing like a backlit movie, but the other thoughts can walk in front of the screen without compromising the image of the breathing or casting a shadow on that image. My problem with this then? I get to this point at the very end of the time right before the chime sounds to signal the end of the meditation. I am sure it takes practice to make this happen earlier, and I am willing to wait.
I have noticed one almost instant benefit of meditating: I find that I can concentrate better in interpersonal communication. I usually have a hard time focusing on what people are saying without letting my mind wonder, but today when I had coffee with Amber, I was very real and present with her in a way that I haven’t been with people in a long time. I feel like it is tempering my moods (the highs and lows of it all) for which I am sure Becky will be grateful. For many reasons, I feel like I am tuning in to myself and the earth. If you have ever been in the woods and felt like the trees were speaking to you, that is how I feel. It isn’t just meditating.
I am at a place in my spiritual development where I feel like I can release some more of those constraints. I mean being hemmed in by regulations. I am at a place where I can say that I think there is more to spirituality than can be contained in what we consider as Christians to be holy writ. I have known this for a long time, and I could say it for a while, but to really feel like it is okay to express it out loud and to admit that I am not scared of going to hell because I don’t really even think it exists. That is new. I am okay with the idea that God may reuse my soul. I am fine with thinking that my dead body could decompose to feed a tree or a worm. I am okay with not knowing or pretending to know what happens next.
Dave talked Sunday about simplicity. Why DO we make things so much more difficult than they need to be?