I want to share a story with you today. It is a simple description of an experience I had and why I attribute that experience to meditation even though i wasn’t meditating at the time. First however, a little self reproach and criticism of my culture. . .
Everyone in the New Age scene talks about meditation, but very few of us actually do it. Maybe once in a while we become present for a moment or two, or we take a deep breath to center ourselves, but actually sitting down to meditate? Actual Practice of Mindfulness or self inquiry? Chances are, it’s just not happening.
I have fallen off the “spiritual practice wagon” recently myself so, I’m not trying to single anyone out, I’m calling out the whole new age culture! We talk about spirituality, but we don’t practice it. We think about spirit, but we don’t realize it. It’s rampant and it’s obvious, but it’s also understandable.
Actual spiritual practice, like daily meditation or prayer, can have a profound effect on your life, and most of us don’t really want profound effects. We want surface effects, like a better financial situation or a new relationship. We don’t want to face our fears about existence and mortality. We don’t want to release into the void and abandon our identity. That stuff is hard and it is scary and we are already more aware of spirit than most of the people we know anyway, so why go to all the trouble? Just give me a latte and a book and let’s talk about empowerment and healing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about empowerment and healing, and I don’t like the scary stuff either, but it is SO incredibly worth it! Now, I promised a story, so here it is:
There was a period in my life not to long ago (back in October I think) when I was deeply and consistently engaged with my daily meditation practice. I would wake in the morning and sit before work, I practiced mindfulness throughout the day and walking meditation to and from work. I would sit again for centering prayer when I came home from work and I would meditate to sleep at night, maintaining awareness as long as I could into the dream state.
During this time I watched the movie, “Meet Joe Black” and after the movie ended I was sitting with my wife contemplating death when I blown open by the depth and beauty of life and death in a very personal way.
I sat in bed for over an hour wracked with uncontrollable sobbing. I was staring straight into the void and quite literally couldn’t look away. No matter what I tried to turn my attention to it emptied itself into the void and left me stranded and naked, facing a beauty so intense I couldn’t stand it. My wife thought something was wrong, but I kept telling her it was just so beautiful that it hurt. All I could explain was that life and death and the whole of creation was so incredibly precious and that I loved her more than I could possibly explain.
I was drenched in such intense love that I thought I might die in that moment. The specter of death was so painful and awesome that a deep feeling of loss sprang up from the depths of my being, and I knew that I was grieving not for myself as I died, but for my wife and family that I would leave behind.
I came back from that experience more determined than ever to be the very best human being I could possibly be. Determined to allow God to shape my life in the best way possible and to give back in anyway I might be asked to. I was infused with a gratitude for simply having the chance to serve the infinitely precious souls that I share this planet with.
It was a beautiful and enriching experience that I will never forget, and which changed me for the better.
It was triggered by the movie, but it was only able to happen because I was sincerely engaged in a daily practice of meditation and centering prayer.
Meditation softens the boundaries of our normal waking consciousness and helps us align with source so that when it knocks, we are awake and receptive. If there was just one thing I could do to help people in this life it would be to get them to engage in some kind of real practice for finding that one limitless source of all creation and the emptiness that holds it. There is no greater good you can do than to find that Love and live in it’s light.
May Your Journey be Sweet and Dripping with Meaning. . .