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  • Haines Eason

Meditation at 180 days: the myth of the woodland glade

Updated: Mar 15, 2019


There’s what we think meditation will be, and there’s what meditation is.

Hah. I have to laugh at myself a little for sounding so knowing. Have I discovered anything that the billions of other practitioners through time have not? No. But, in my own small way I have come to the very real understanding that everywhere we go, there it is: our unquiet mind. Nice knowing there’s at least one sure thing in this life.

As my practice has deepened, I have found myself running up against myself, for better, for worse. And that’s the point…? And that is the point.

Back to where many think meditation will carry them. Some imagine water, maybe waves, an ocean. Some, clouds, sky, wind... And others, maybe woods and a clearing there. This last dream was mine. There are many other expectations besides what I list here. Maybe as many as there are people.

What I’ve discovered as I’ve stayed with my practice is not a fanciful woodland glade wherein I find sunlight, a babbling brook and blue-sky peace. I’ve found a touch of all that, sure … with myself seated right there in the middle of it all—my sometimes angry, sometimes deeply saddened, sometimes-pretending-I’m-doing-all-right (white knuckling), sometimes-in-fact-doing-all-right self.

I laugh sometimes at myself during my practice, right during the silence of it, my eyes closed, breathing steadily, because the exact, hoped-for vision of the glade comes to me, a touch of the woodland paradise wherein I would sit, but yet there's me, seated right out in the middle of it all, struggling to see what is and has always been all around me. Struggling to see the glad and the peace it embodies. It is in that moment, as I am laughing at myself, seeing both paradise and my frustrated self in the midst of it, eyes closed, breathing with great focus, that I achieve something, that I disappear and then have a moment, just a moment, in the glade without myself thinking about trying to find the glade. Funny that in these moments, in my mind’s eye, my physical self vanishes… Guess that’s another post for another day.

What is the gain? The gain is poise. In business, in friendships, during a workout, while reading a book … if we can hold the information that is our feelings a little distant and observe it, we gain, for we reap the benefit of the information without succumbing to an all-engrossing, subsequent emotion. Especially valuable in any pursuit…

So, after 180 days of meditation, have I changed? Yes. No. I can say I am much less angry than I was before I began my practice. Again, another post for another day (my wife and I have been through the ringer the last four years). Rather, I now find I have a moment with my feelings before they become me. Often, in that newfound moment between the genesis of the feeling and the emotional response that used to immediately follow, I see the feelings for what they are: information, nothing more. In that moment of externalization—conceiving something as viewed from a vantage, whether what we view be abstract or real, naturally removes us from it—I am, essentially, distracted, and the spell of the feeling is broken.

What is the gain? The gain is poise. In business, in friendships, during a workout, while reading a book … if we can hold the information that is our feelings a little distant and observe it, we gain, for we reap the benefit of the information without succumbing to an all-engrossing, subsequent emotion. Especially valuable in any pursuit…

That’s all for now. I remain frustrated even as I am changed. I wonder what a year, or a lifetime, of this could bring.

For those interested, I use Headspace. I have not been paid mention the app or say the following: I love it, and it has changed my life. I wish you peace on your journey.

#Mindfulness #Spirituality #Slowliving