Meditation Matters

Everyone comes to meditation for a reason. For me, it was to finish writing a novel. I did in fact finish writing that novel and it exists in a virtual drawer. Most people come to meditation to decrease stress and anxiety. It is possible, actually probable, that a meditation practice will do these things for you. It may even help lower your blood pressure or improve your focus and it will definitely bring you something you don’t expect.

My meditation practice has been an integral part of my life for over a decade. Most people assume that means I’m a very calm person not easily stressed or provoked. Those people don’t know me well. A meditation practice does not make me less restless, less anxious, or for that matter, less joyful or sensitive—it simply makes me more aware of the transitory nature of all of these conditions and it increases my confidence that I can tolerate all of the above.

Yet, I am still a person who has plenty of anxiety and restlessness. I still get hurt and can act irrational. But, since I have begun to meditate, there is a pause between the action from without and my response from within. The beat between the hurt and my response is charged. The pause gives me the freedom to set the rhythm of my response. It is not that I wound softer or deflect better. But the ability to beguile time, even a little, to be my ally instead of my adversary, that is the wonder of meditation.

Twelve years ago, a retired high school English teacher taught me to meditate. Once a week, we’d sit in her living room and she and I would discuss how well or how poorly my meditation practice had gone the week before. She’d entertain all of my questions about the technical and sometimes mystical aspects of a meditation practice. Then, we’d sit together in silence and she’d tell me to come back the following week. I met with her off and on for close to five years.

In the first few months after I began meditating, there were daily bursts of neurons transmitting ideas everywhere, synaptic explosions like Fourth of July fireworks topped off by a fluency of speech and ideas that delighted me and also caught me by surprise. This was a life-changing experience and I became that person who talked about meditation constantly. Every conversation I was involved in always came around to the topic of meditation. 

I started to wonder how the world would be different if more people adopted a meditation practice. It became my passion to bring this practice to more people because perhaps bringing one more meditator to the universe could crack open a tiny space for more listening, more compassion, more miracles.

My teacher once told me about what motivated her to learn meditation. Life was full and chaotic–the big house, the husband, the child, the dog, the stressful job teaching in a big urban high school. She had started to feel stuck and longed for more out of life than the obligations to her students and to her family. She ended up getting her pilot’s license. Soaring above the horizon, she found a fresh perspective and a newfound sense of freedom.

A meditation practice always brings something unexpected. I think you should give it a try and then send me your questions. 

Questions help clarify ideas for both the person posing the question and the person coming up with the answer. My questions for my teacher inevitably led to other questions that allowed me to go deeper and deeper. Wrestling with questions helped me establish a practice.

Now, it’s your turn. Ask me anything about meditation! Whether  you’ve been practicing for years, you’re curious about what the heck meditation is, or you’re someone struggling to establish a practice, send me your questions and look for answers in my new advice column/newsletter, Meditation Matters – Ask Lori, coming soon to your inbox.

QUOTE

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” ― Richard P. Feynman

Do try this at home:

Need advice about meditation? Send me your questions and I’ll answer in my new advice column, Meditation Matters, coming to your inbox.

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