You might ask, why bother with meditation at all?
It’s hard. We have restless minds and emotions that are difficult to tolerate. In general, often in life we try to stay busy so we don’t have to feel these difficult emotions or reckon with our restless minds.
Many of us suffer from overwhelm too – strong, confusing mental states where we’re trying to manage many aspects of our lives, and feel like we’re swamped, and failing.
When this happens, the first step is to recognize the overwhelm. Typically, we might be driven by the sense of overwhelm to do whatever we can to subdue or avoid being aware of it – anything to make these conflicted and noisy states of heart and mind disappear from view. Rather than recognizing the inner condition of overwhelm – which is the root of the problem – we try to fix, manage or solve the content of our lives that we believe to be causing the sense of overwhelm.
Actually, we need to call ourselves back to the here and now, and face the sense of being overwhelmed, help it, dial it down, relax, find ease again, and come back to center.
Often overwhelm is strong and easy to recognize. But there are times it can be much more subtle. We may be going about our daily activities, carried along by the stream of activity and thoughts, without realizing that our awareness of being alive is actually already hijacked and covered over. The ongoing stream of inner and outer activity masks and hides our awareness, so we don’t even notice that this is our life going on.
The greatest gift of all is being alive. But we need to recognize it. To be aware and conscious that we are alive – this recognition is a gift beyond all measure. But it’s not so easy for us to be aware of it.
Meditation teaches us to receive the gift of being aware. Over time, practice helps us interrupt the narratives we continually tell ourselves, the stories that overlay our moment by moment lived experience. We are living beings, actually experiencing life, existing with awareness. What if meditation is nothing more than recognizing this?
Message from Henry is from our August 15, 2022 Newsletter.