Friday, January 11, 2013

Finding Contentment in Now

I went to a guided meditation this week.  It went about as I expected it would - uncomfortably.

Phones buzzing, doors opening, people coughing, foot falling asleep, back hurting (so bad), butt boney against the floor, head spinning, heart dark and heavy.

I went into it, however, with grace for myself regardless of the outcome. After all, it was a "compassion and loving kindness" meditation.  The least I could do is accept the experience for exactly what it is.

That last bit - the heavy and darkened heart - was the one gift of awareness I received.  I feel it sitting here even now.  The right side of my chest feels open and light, while the left side feels shrouded somehow.  In this awareness, I feel the dull, faint ache.  Physically.  My heart - the muscle - is literally aching.

I have been living my life waiting for it to stop. Everything I do - in work, in play, in relationships - has been a gesture aimed at attaining purpose and meaning in my life.  They are acts of hope and not necessarily presence.  I live my life in the meantime.

I'm reading the book, In the Meantime, incidentally, which suggests that it is a naturally occurring time in everyone's life.  What I can't reconcile, however, is how "meantime" and "presence" can coexist.  Great teachers and philosophers have said that happiness is not having what you want in life, rather, wanting what you have.  But if this "meantime" phenomenon is real, how can that be possible?  Who on Earth could possibly want a meantime experience?

Perhaps it is less about want and more about acceptance.  As painful and messy as my meantime experience has been, it is definitely reshaping me.  No doubt I am a better, albeit slightly more worn, person for it.  Maybe in my meantime "presence" just means having gratitude for the unseen gifts I am receiving.

I have a hunch it also means opening this aching heart of mine to actually receive them.

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