Saturday, September 5, 2009
I have many friends, people who, for whatever reason, have shown more interest in my well-being than they are in trying to change me. My distractibility is high as I write, and I feel like I have to work so hard to adjust my external world to capture my internal peace. Back when I was in high school, I learned how to practice meditation, and only now do I realize what it takes to get that back.
In meditation, I remember being able to overcome my general anxiety to sit for select periods of time. I was not an adept. I did not have some guide. I am saying I sat for ten minutes, fifteen minutes. I learned how to breathe. As I pass through the different changes in my life I realize what I had forgotten. I realize what I lost. I now know what I work to regain.
I do not practice as a Buddhist. I never formally studied Zen. All I know is when I was younger, I needed guidance.I read many books. I needed a reed to grab to keep from drowning emotionally. I was struggling with myself, and one tool i was given was meditation. Many refer to it as "the art of sitting." I ask now why I sit, and I believe that the act of starting to sit is more important than understanding why I do it. I am not a Buddhist indeed. Still, the art of sitting is a useful one. Everyday I remember some piece of something I discussed, something about which I wrote in this blog; I know I was trying to build a bridge to something, to somewhere.
So, the path I started twenty three years ago got distracted. I discovered beer worked faster than meditation. I found my girlfriend was able to bring me to a peaceful place faster than meditation. It really seems- or at least it seemed- that meditation was tedious, and unnecessary. This act of sitting alone, checking my posture, watching my breathing, and -to the degree I understand- clearing my mind, I felt it (the meditation) was all too much work. Sitting still seemed very difficult. With less things in my life about which I needed to worry, I find myself more distracted by this sense of lost time than in times past.
Back then, my thinking was clearer. My heart stayed peaceful. My eyes stayed focused on the horizon of possibility, while I worked to stay grounded in the present. So, today, I am home with my family and friends. I laugh, because as my diet has improved, and my health has gotten better, I find myself less focused than ever before.
Sitting works. Now I am finding that with my challenged nervous system, getting back my patience is a must. Learning to breathe purposefully becomes a great asset. I also find I am learning how to stretch my body, and stretch my mind. I am learning that yoga can improve my functioning in day-to-day activities. I find that my limitations are minimized , and I am freed to maximize what is left. If I am forced to sit, I can at least sit purposefully.
So, today I woke up in time to meet my friend for Mass. Today is Saturday, and his parish offers a special Mass to anoint the sick. Today I joined him. The service was short, and simple. We celebrated the Word, and listened to the priest's homily. After that we all lined up for the anointing. Scented oil was placed on my palms and forehead. I was blessed, and I celebrated as the Eucharist was shared.
Now that I am home, I can capture that part of myself that was drifting. Learning to live a slower life is challenging. I am used to doing things, going places on a moment's notice. Today I am blessed that I can see this world from a new perspective.
Thank you for reading.