May 14, 2019

Meditation: Space for Stillness

Don’t just do something, sit there.

After a thirty-plus-year relationship with sitting, I’ve let go of all extravagant expectations that my whole life will be “solved” and I’ll become permanently enlightened—steeped in divine bliss and released from the gale-like winds of my mind—through daily practice. In that sense, I’ve found freedom: The freedom of realizing that the “solution" isn’t a solution. It’s a day-by-day drop in the bucket of tending to the vacillating thoughts—and, therefore, tending to my being.

Of course, that’s not to say that each discrete drop isn’t significant. To sit down and go quiet is to set down—even for 15 minutes in the morning—my idea that I’m only valid if I’m “doing.” It’s a break from the hustle of my mind’s fixation on exuding a personality into the world. It’s a vacation from the seemingly ceaseless mental chatter that has us literally and figuratively chasing our tails. (And, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just a time to witness the ceaseless mental chatter. That, too, is a “drop.”)

I mostly refrain from calling what I do “meditation” anymore. I’ve noticed that word carries a weight that can divert me from the experience. Often, when I’ve engaged in MEDITATION, I’ve continued to experience myself as the doer. But when I can let go of the word—and the ego and agenda that are attached to it—I can simply sit. Nothing fancy. No one watching. Just my butt on a cushion and a moment to feel, witness, and make space for stillness.

There is no mystery. There are no tricks. There is only the commitment to be as present as possible with whatever is.

Throughout the month of May, we’ll give attention to “Meditation Mondays”—in part because it sounds good; in part because beginning the week by going quiet and taking a journey through my internal landscape has helped me along this life’s journey. For four Mondays, I’ll offer simple tools that have supported me along the way. Whether you’ve had a regular sitting practice for decades or you’ve never sat for meditation before, I look forward to you finding you here, in curiosity, support, and community.


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