Tip From a Messy Contemplative

I would love to talk about meditation and contemplative orientation from a place of perfection. I would love to land on the ground from levitating in the lotus position to tell of the richness of mindfulness practice from a place of certainty. But I can't! I'm a father of two sons, the husband of a wife I strive to understand, and a spiritual teacher who most days feels more like a fraud than a competent witness. All of which are roles, which clutter my mind. In some ways I am the worst contemplative around. I remember being in the middle of a sermon shouting in this real bombastic voice about the importance of silence and didn't grasp the irony of it until I sat down. I suck at silence. I once entered a retreat center introducing myself to a sweet unassuming nun who notified me in a tender tone just above a whisper that everyone there takes a vow of silence. And for the next 4-6 minutes I nervously explained to her how I totally get what that whole silence thing is about! It was a nightmare. When I enter into silence my mind begins to race. Distraction takes over far too often. And in the midst of my meditation I keep wondering, "How does that Dalai Lama dude do this!" I would love to talk about centeredness from a place of true competency. But I realize the "certain" mystic may be the worst spokesperson for contemplation these days. Hear from a voice that truly understands the time torn life. Hear from a guy that knows what it means to be event rich and time poor. Take a tip from a messy contemplative emphatically stating: Even bad meditation can transform your life.

The first thing you learn about meditation when you start meditating is you can't do meditation. The moment we find our quiet place and our sacred space is the very moment we learn our minds seethe with ceaseless clutter. We are habituated to be human doers instead of human beings. When I teach meditation classes I run into so much fear from participants because they are afraid of what they may discover rattling around in their minds if they stopped all of their activity and simply sat with themselves. Our minds simultaneously crave centeredness and out rightly reject it. It's as if our emotions and thoughts conspire against us finding our place of peace. And this is what you call really messed up!

But at the same time there is a miracle in this mess. There is reward to be found in this conflicted state. Because what we find in this moment of jangled mess is meditation is a gift given. Peace is not another goal to be achieved but is a condition to be allowed. It is the response to an invitation already given. Jesus would give the invitation this way, "Come unto me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest". And it is when we move to a place of allowing in our meditation when we truly find a sense of rest. It may only last a brief moment. Thoughts and emotions may come flooding in almost immediately to vanquish this sacred second of peace. But that second is real and it is divine. And it is a second God can use and build upon. And gradually we messy meditators are offered more peace than we've previously experienced. And that can transform a life.