A Time to Refrain from...
My therapist has suggested that I give up meditating for a while. She has nothing against meditation. She has correctly noted that My Meditation Practice is something that I hold on to, cling to. In particular I use it to keep score.
To wit: since September 20th of 2014 I have meditated for 1,652 days; since November 30th of 2015 the score is 1,327 consecutive days. On the Insight Timer meditation app that I use these statistics add up to SEVEN GREEN STARS! 175 milestones!!!! (Pause here for awe and approval)
I had ‘outed’ myself on this at an ACA meeting a few months back. I recognized my wounded need to prove myself and affirm myself by keeping score. No one else may notice, but I sure as heck did. And if people knew and could see me up early every morning on my cushion, why, they would be impressed…and they would think highly of me…and they would overlook my mistakes…and the world would be a better and safer place for all…and I, somehow, would be a safer person in a safer world. Clearly an issue, don’t you think?
The exercise here is not about giving up meditation, but giving my spirit space for the fears behind this score-keeping to emerge, be felt, be held and understood, and to be released and/or healed. Pema Chodron refers to this release as Refraining; refraining as a practice one uses skillfully to flush out attachments and see things more clearly in terms of skillful commitments in life. (See her book, Living Beautifully with uncertainty and change.)
When I broached this subject out loud at ACoA I felt quite brave and ‘working the program’. Of course I did nothing about it for six months, but at least I had staked out a place for this exercise. When it came up in therapy two days ago I could only smile. “You are asking me to jump off a cliff, right? You know how hard it is for me to let go of this scorekeeping! You know how important meditation is to me!!! And still you push me toward to cliff edge….”
Now, having let my CONSECUTIVE DAY record collapse, I find that the earth continues to spin on its axis, the sun still rises, I still breath and no one has really noticed that I took this huge step. What was I afraid of? I am not sure…yet.
Here then is what my intention is for the next few weeks (until I see my therapist again).
I will seek a simple mindful meditation practice that helps me bring quiet intention to the start of each day.
I will ask myself about this fear related-to-scorekeeping and see where it is showing up in my body.
I will seek to be mindful throughout the day, compassionate and curious, relating both to myself, others, and life around me.
I will note to myself, and speak out loud to someone those habits or patterns or behaviors that suggest attachment and clinging.
And because beauty is something that inspires me I will adorn this blog post with images taken recently on a trip to Maine. And the Byrds are gently singing, Turn, Turn Turn…