As I settle in to write this article I am suddenly aware of how much I have to do, and feel time pressured. When I suggest people might benefit from a meditation class, they often look to the left and right furtively and then say, “I will, another time.” Time is an issue for most of us, in today's world, there's a demand to do more with a limited commodity, time.
When I first sit down to meditate, my ‘to do’ list looms up. The pressure of the unconscious, which holds all of our incompletions, has the opportunity to assert itself. The list itself begins to create inner tension and anxiety, because it suddenly seems that everything else is much more important than sitting and ‘doing nothing.’ Sitting doesn’t seem to do anything for my ‘to do’ list, or does it?
The irony here is that meditation creates time, and can establish the quiet, spaciousness and stillness we need to be clear.
When we're simply observing, without grasping or judging, an inner alchemy begins to dissolve and transform negativity and worry, creating more clarity and balance.
The act of just sitting activates thinking, and this is frustrating for many beginners. But the truth is, thinking, being aware of thinking, noticing breathing while thinking is the way we assimilate experience and start to create inner space, and it’s that sense of inner space that helps us develop inner time. Inner time is the awareness that we have enough time and space to handle what is actually important to us, and confidence we can develop the ability to handle things as they arise.
Meditation itself prunes away the psychic clutter, and helps us to more clearly see what’s important to us. A heartfelt meditation or contemplative practice shows the way and begins to bring forward what is essential. It assists with the rhythm of time; everything arrives in the right timing. No need to tense up about it.
As we deepen into meditative practice, we enter the matrix of life, where that part of us that is greater than the little ‘I’ can orchestrate our lives. What’s truly important gets delivered in perfect timing because we are in greater alignment with our higher purpose.
As we learn to concentrate in a light and joyful way, and as our awareness expands, time itself seems different, more spacious, there's more to notice. And, the less distractible and more attuned we become, the more we can genuinely accomplish.
When I first started meditation, I’d suddenly find myself standing at the sink doing the dishes or on the phone, calling a friend. The pressure of the ‘to do’ list kept pulling me away. Many of our ‘to do’s’ are old and redundant: When you were six years old you said you’d write a letter to your grandmother and you never did. Although insignificant now, it may still hold psychic weight. Many of our ‘to do’s' we’ve developed to create or maintain an image, or were promises made and never kept. When we just sit, we stir up a miasma including basic needs, fears and dreams, essential maintenance, other folk's ideas of what's right, forgotten promises, and a few genuine treasures. It creates pressure and discomfort that is challenging to sit through.
One suggestion for anyone struggling with getting to, or staying in your seat is this: First, take care of yourself physically. If you are agitated, angry, restless, or anxious, exercise first. Handle basic stresses. Have a notepad or journal beside you, and as you sit, write down you're 'to do' list, as items come up. Once you've written it down, you can tell yourself that its handled. (But in order for this exercise to be effective, after you’ve finished your meditation, cut the list down to create spaciousness inside. What do you really need to do? What’s important? Out of a list of fifty items, maybe ten are relevant and timely. Take care of those.)
There are excellent resources available relating to setting and achieving goals, that’s not the focus of this article. However, to approach our beingness, we first learn to handle our busy ness, and begin to bring our actions in line with our values. Meditation can support us by creating the space to decide what is meaningful to us.
For more information contact Don at 250-897-5576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or website movingpresence.center
Featured Image: "Clocks" by Paul Haahr, Creative Commons 2.0