(doesn't he look like a nice man?)
Up until now, I'm been a recreational meditator. That is, 10 minutes here, five minutes there. I never really allowed myself to be fully immersed in the experience. Why? Because meditation scares me.
Most people think that meditation helps you to relax. That it helps you *stop* thinking. But it doesn't. Not in those terms, anyway.
From what I've been able to glean thus far, meditation proceeds something like this:
a) You discipline your body into accepting stillness.
b) You start training your mind to skim over your thoughts like a stone skipped on the waves.
c) At some point, you arrive in the present moment.
d) All of your demons start to present themselves, their throats exposed, ready to be slain.
e) You start slaying, crying frequently as you deal with the grief, etc. that's been accumulating over the years.
f) Eventually you stop fighting your body and your mind.
g) You truly arrive in the present moment.
h) You are gradually able to look over the story of your life - and that of those around you - with equanimity and peace and kindness, etc.
Please excuse the rough generalizations, but you can recognize that this is going to be hard, hard work. The tranquility only arrives after much discipline. I'm going to get frustrated, I'm going to cry my eyes out, I'm going to want to quit. Kornfield describes the experience thusly:
A memory of old loss sings to us; our body shakes and relives the moment of loss; then the armoring around that loss gradually softens; and in the midst of the song of tremendous grieving, the pain of that loss finally finds release.
But it must be done. And I have a goal. Like many of you, I am caught between the need for speed and the desire for a quiet life of steady, satisfying labour. So I embark on this new adventure with the hopes of finally finding my way to that place where I can finally do the work that is most important to me.
And I know that I can make the necessary effort. I just have to summon up enough courage to keep going when it gets tough. Wish me luck.