Michele Clark, MEd, MA's blog
Leslie Whitcomb, a graduate student in the MA in Counseling and Psychology Program, sent me this story about her daughter Thora's meditation practice. Leslie is the mother of eight children and is currently doing her counseling internship in a community mental health clinic, where she has already been asked by two different staff to apply for a job after graduation (Yay, Leslie!).
Some of the meditation teachers I admire write or say things I have never heard before. Often these sentences simmer a long time on the back burner of my mind before I understand what they mean either in the abstract or to me.
A friend and I went to a Meditation Workshop for Beginners. This was some time ago. The workshop started at ten in the morning and ended at four. It consisted of alternating periods of sitting or walking meditation, and then talks by the guiding teacher, followed by questions and answers.
What can I say? Every morning that I loll in bed past six a.m., which is to say most mornings, I am condemned. By whom? Myself, of course. The judge within. This is how it goes: I've slept well. Outside the birds are trilling their light morning tunes. Cotton sheets rub against my skin. It all feels delightful. Why get up and lose this deep savoring? I say to myself. The Buddhist principle here: Human beings cling to pleasure.
Faced with writing what seemed like an endless number of papers when I was in graduate school many years ago, I stumbled across a method for overcoming procrastination. Much more recently, in the November-December 2013 issue of The Psychotherapy Networker I came across an article that grounded my method in physiology. Eureka! I cried. (Well, mumbled, really). And how affirming.
As it turns out, if you meditate long enough the devils of self-criticism and fear may decide to make an appearance. In my reading about meditation I had come across allusions to this but I didn't pay attention, in part because I couldn't imagine it. Meditation had either offered me some gifts of clarity or it seemed absolutely innocuous. Most mornings when I meditate nothing much happens. My mind races - I forget to focus - I return to focus - I forget, I return. The bell rings, my to-do list is ready, the day begins. Devils, schmevils what could go wrong?
Several readers of this blog were excited by the idea of installing the good and said they were going to try it. Their responses then excited me and their remarks pushed me to think further about outcomes and purposes.