Sunday, October 19, 2014
One of the fundamental spiritual practices is being present to our experience, in the moment and in our bodies. As we allow ourselves to contact our bodily experience, it is often the case that we feel a certain uneasiness, a sense of vulnerability. This frequently happens when we first start to meditate; when we begin to experience this direct contact with our moment-by-moment experience it feels a little scary. “This can’t be right.” we say to ourselves, “I must be doing something wrong.” But what we are encountering is just how unfamiliar it feels for us to not live from the conning tower of our mind, trying to be in control of everything.
When we take our seat to meditate, it is as if we are saying to God, to the universe, “I don’t want to be in charge anymore. I want to learn to trust the flow of life to carry me to where I am supposed to be.” But this feels so unnatural and unfamiliar to us control freaks who have tried for many years to fix ourselves and to fix our families. So the root practice in meditation is letting go of this need for control and dealing with the underlying trust issues that arise when we attempt to let go. Our ego has spent so many years devising strategies to keep us feeling in control and safe, so it is not going to give up its role easily!
The problem is that the ego is a false God to which we have sacrificed much of our essential freedom and goodness. We have bought into the strategy, “If I keep doing X, then the world will be safe for me.” The problem with this modus operandi is that it usually is based upon what happened to us in childhood and we are acting as if the world were still just as it was when we were children. So if we had an abusive parent and we learned to please them to stay safe, we still operate out of the scenario that the world is not a safe place and we have to appease others to stay safe. Sad to say though, when we are the good girl or good boy who always tries to please, we might be safe, but we have lost much of our authenticity.
In meditation we let go of all of the efforting to do this or that thing that we believe keeps us safe. The workaholic sitting with themselves and not working begins to become acutely aware of their sense of unworthiness seeping up from their unconscious where it has been repressed by compulsive accomplishment. The people pleaser sees their fear of being unsafe when they aren’t in a frenetic dance of meeting other people’s needs. And as we are wiling to sit with ourselves and see the internal drama pass by our awareness without acting out, we gradually let go of our core beliefs about who we are and what the world is all about. And as we let go of these stories that we have lived by, we come to abide in the present, to experience PRESENCE, pure being itself. And this is the Pearl of Great Price.