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On meditation --

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Because I'm not ready to talk about other things on my mind and in my heart right now, I'll instead offer this little jewel I just found about meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh, for those who share the practice:

"You know those nights when sleep eludes you, and the harder you try to sleep the less you can. You are trying to force yourself to be peaceful, and you feel the resistance inside of you.

"This same sort of resistance is felt by many people during their first experiences with meditation (and NOT just the first experiences!). The more they try to calm themselves, the more restless they become... This resistance is born out of our very efforts to be peaceful. The effort itself becomes oppressive.

"Our thoughts and feelings flow like a river. If we try to stop the flow of a river, we will meet the resistance of the water. It is better to flow with it, and then we may be able to guide it in ways we want it to go. We must not attempt to halt it.

Keep in mind that the river must flow and that we are going to follow it. We must be aware of every little stream that joins it. We must be aware of all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise in us - of their birth, duration, and disappearance. Do you see?

"Now the resistance begins to disappear. The river of perceptions is still flowing, but no longer in darkness. It is now flowing in the sunlight of awareness. To keep this sun always shining inside of us, illuminating each rivulet, each pebble, each bend in the river, is the practice of meditation. To practice meditation is, first of all, to observe and to follow these details."
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If you're interested in who Thich Nhat Hanh is, there is a write-up about him at the website for Plum Village (dot org), a community he founded in southern France. Once there, just look for his name in the menu items.

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