– There is a wealth of science-based research that proves the benefits of meditation. Greater mental and emotional health, decreased blood pressure, stress and anxiety reduction, and an overall increase in feelings of well being are just a few. I heard a story many years ago that struck me as the most cogent response to this question of why meditate, which was posed by a young student to the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. When asked why we meditate, he replied that the reason we meditate, is so that when the world pulls the rug out from under you, you have a ground to stand on.
There is a basic ground, a field that we begin to become of aware of through meditation. For the conceptual mind this can be a difficult metaphor because it is not a solid ground that our physical feet can stomp around on. It is solid in the sense that it is ever-present and always supporting us. Our capacity to anchor in this field, stabilize our awareness in this basic ground becomes like the strong deep roots of a tree. The storms of life will blow, ripping off leaves, breaking branches or even bending the trunk of the tree, but it doesn’t die. It can recover and bloom again if it has a solid root system. In my life, the practice of meditation has given me roots in this groundless ground and allowed me to weather many storms, and not only survive but thrive. There was also a point when meditation became a way of living and being and a path of authentic transformation, as opposed to a separate practice that provided momentary relief.
– by Kathy Fellows-Moss
– I wonder if many of you, like myself, occasionally allow yourself to revisit in deep feeling the web of seemingly forgotten relationships with those who at one time touched your life, even if ever so briefly?
The brain naturally cleanses unused memories and there are many of us who want to let go of so much of the past, so I am certainly not suggesting that we dwell in the past. Yet, in the deep stillness of meditation there is a value to allowing your psyche, with just the slightest suggestion to do so, to invite back whoever of those forgotten people spontaneously make their appearance in your mind in order to reconnect with them, but specifically to embrace them from a fuller heart.
I often find myself in the quiet of early morning prayer weaving a body of feeling inhabited with the living memory and felt embrace of these souls from the past, some who were friends, others who I wounded or felt wounded by, now welcome parts of my living body of gratitude. And as they spontaneously parade by I hold them with my heart in the certainty that their lives have been fulfilling and that they have known deep love.
In this way, with no effort, a body pulsing with wonderment comes alive in me and I have the strange perspective that I am now experiencing so much more of the gift and contribution of these relationships than I actually remember being able to feel at the time in which they were current.
Is this impression that I was less able to truly appreciate the blessing of those relationships when I was actually living them the natural fading brought about by time? Or perhaps that I had been more self-involved then, more narcissistic, so that they were players in my theater and not actually individual beings in their own right to be appreciated and celebrated. I don’t need an answer to these questions because what I do know is it that in weaving the body of gratitude what comes alive from the past now profoundly enriches how I am open to the present moment and each person I encounter.
It seems to me the past can close the door of our hearts to the present or open it wide. And I wonder is this not an aspect of the wisdom of forgiveness, that in gratitude the past can be re-given to us as a source of healing and a means of vividly living in a re-visioned present?
Whatever the answer to these musings in the work that I offer, healing of the past and living a vivid present is fundamental. It seems to me we must each commit to weaving the body of gratitude so that we can become instruments of healing and wholeness for ourselves, our communities, and our planet. This is not work that we can defer as more and more we see the schism between heart and mind diving us within ourselves and between each other.
I hope you will explore this simple practice and I hope to see you soon because we do need to be decisive about living lives that make a profound difference.
In love and gratitude,
Photo credit: Jon Tyson