Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tuning the Lute

Meditation is hard. Sitting, in one place, doing nothing, is perhaps the single most difficult thing to do.

But every day, I try it again. And every day, I am met with new challenges, and new discoveries.

The mind is different every day. Some days it's living in the past, others, the future. Some days there is a remarkable quietness to the mind, and when I close my eyes to begin watching the breath a wide open stretch of space expands. Everything feels deeper, sacred, beautiful, rich and full yet empty... like looking into the night sky. Other days, the mind is chatter chatter chatter, nonstop about this and about that. The breath goes out the window. Space has shrunken down. I'm suffocating in my own claustrophic mind.

Every day is different. Every moment is different. But all of it -- the good, the bad -- is just more discovery to delight in. More ways to know the self. Some habits I've come to realize: I think a lot about what others think of me. I examine myself from many different vantage points, a lot of the time. 'I wonder how so-in-so viewed me when I said yada-yada the other day.' Or, 'I hope so-in-so sees me this way, and if I do this next time maybe they'll like me even more.' I rework past experiences in my mind like they were clay. All of this working to support an ego that I know, deep down, doesn't really exist. Such wasted energy!

But when the mind quiets down, and this secret space begins to open up.... I'm so wonderfully intriqued. What's down there? It's exciting to come across, as if the door to Narnia is in my mind somewhere. It flickers in and out, like a candle, like a plane doing a touch and go. I'm learning to steady myself in this opening. It is so easy to lose the balance. Effort must be just right. The energy applied subtracted by the relaxation of letting go. It's such a precise configuration. Try standing on the tips of your toes like a ballerina for an hour. This is what finding the open expanse of the soul is like. Or, as Buddhas put it, learning to tune the lute. Not too taught, not too loose.
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1 comment:

  1. absolutely gorgeous writing! I am thinking more about creating a small space for myself somewhere in this house, and being gentle with myself if I can't do it every day, but to try to do it most days. if I get it just right, and the universe cooperates, I usually get up to an hour by myself when the kids nap. that could be the window for an un-intimidating 20 minutes.