Be the Eye
I was talking by to a dear friend today about meditation and what a challenge it can be trying to fit this
annoying exercise in futility invaluable tool into our busy lives.
“I’m lucky to grab five minutes!” She explained as we shared a decadent grilled cheese, tomato and ham sandwich from one of our favorite local haunts.
“That’s better than nothing” I replied with a mouth full of golden, drippy cheese.
“Yeah, well, just as I sat down to meditate yesterday, my husband barged into the room and ruined the vibe.”
Don’t you hate when that happens? I fucking hate when that happens!
It seems like just when I settle in, the gardener shows up with his bliss-shattering leaf-blower. Or my fifty-pound dog decides to jump in my lap.
I hate the interruption—but I don’t let it derail me. Let me explain.
As I’ve expressed here many times, I sucked at mediation…for decades!
I strained and struggled, I sought out the advice of gurus and I studied it endlessly.
One meditation teacher I had back in the early 80’s played loud music, usually Led Zeppelin, for an hour as we, his devoted
idiots, students, sat in lotus, desperately trying not to mouth the lyrics. “Quiet the mind!” He’d yell over the voice Robert Plant.
One guy who was supposedly an Enlightened Master had us try to meditate with our feet submerged in ice water. That only made me have to pee.
Another teacher used the sounds of the city to try to sharpen our focus. She’d swing the doors and windows wide open allowing the symphony of traffic and sirens to bounce off the walls surrounding us in noise.
You guys, I sucked so bad at all of this. I mean, SO bad.
Trying to wrangle my focus long enough to settle my mind seemed as unattainable as a twenty-two inch waist.
Finally, my Shaman, yes, I had a kind of personal pocket-Shaman in the nineties, (long story) had no patience whatsoever for my endless complaining. “It’s easy to meditate in a dark and quiet room”, he’d say. “Child’s play!”
“The goal is to find stillness inside of the chaos.”
Didn’t I see that on a bumper sticker or an ad for Ambien?
“Right. Stillness inside chaos. Tell that to my monkey mind. It’s throwing its own poop right now!
Silently, (because who can argue with that compelling an image) he walked me over to a computer and pulled up a picture of a hurricane from Space.
“Look at this. Nature knows. See the eye? The eye is stillness inside of chaos. Be the eye.”
But ya know what? One day all of that practice I’d had at focusing my mind in the midst of chaos paid off. I’m pretty sure I could meditate for a least five minutes next to a jack hammer—because I’ve done it!
And if you can do that, the next thing you’ll notice is that you won’t lose your mind in traffic—you won’t blow a gasket in the ten-items-or-less line at the supermarket when the guy in front of you has ten cases of different soups that have to be scanned separately—and you can sit with a group of co-workers, serenely sipping your latte while Bob, the guy in accounting, talks on and on about how Trump has made America great again.
All of this to say, practice pays off you guys. Five minutes leads to seven, seven minutes leads to ten, and the next thing you know, you’ll be so removed from the chaos you won’t know where your nose is or even if you have a face—and you won’t hear the timer go off.
Trust me, it can happen. I’ve cleaned many a poopy wall—I know the struggle is real!