The cords of wood we got this year are really wet. You can see and hear the water burning off when we start our fire every morning. Today, our logs held a lesson for me.
This morning's meditation was not what I would call quiet. My mind flitted back and forth from the focal point of my mantra to one of several streams of thought it was decidedly more dedicated to than quieting down. It's okay. I KNOW it is STILL meditation even when my mind never quiets down. I KNOW it is STILL working.
Furthermore, and maybe most importantly, if 27 years of practice has taught me one thing it’s that struggling or trying to MAKE my mind quiet only works against me.
I'm guessing some of you *may* have experienced a similar quandary in meditation. Here's an understanding that might help:
In yoga, we see our ordinary mind, its limited concepts, habits and tendencies as the lived result of gathered up past impressions called samskaras in sanskrit. Through our practices, these impressions are slowly burnt and purified in the fire of yoga. At the same time, we cultivate new impressions and habits of mind that allow for greater freedom. In other words, we replace the limiting habits like worry and fear, with more expansive habits like presence, patience and trust. But it's a slow process.
It's worth remembering that these past impressions and habits of mind, our samsakras, carry the momentum of perhaps a lifetime (maybe more) of energy and fuel. It takes a while for the fire of yoga to burn them off.
When the log of our minds is wet with the moisture of our limiting tendencies, it takes time for the fire of greater freedom and inner stillness to take hold.
The lesson for all of us?
Trust that the more time you spend here, the more the water is burning off the log of your mind. Slowly, the benefits are taking hold. The momentum is building.
Keep practicing. Keep showing up. Keep meditating.
Don't fight with your mind. Like a mother holding a baby, love it, cradle it, and gently lead it back to its source.
In time, perhaps when you least expect it, your mind will relinquish it's wandering, your inner being WILL catch the fire of stillness and freedom.
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