I have not been very good with formal meditation this past week. This is not to say, unmeditative. The book, the blog, the community, the tenets of meditation have been very much with me.
Last Saturday I was out to dinner and discussing the blog and the bloggers, and it seemed to me that suddenly I was articulating what has seemed so phenomenal from the start: I know hardly anybody on here, beyond their entries, and yet, it is, undeniably, a community. I'm moved by the individual entries, I'm moved by the critical mass of people sitting. I'm moved by the high-tech transmission of the lowest-tech experiences. It seems to me a wonderful world here.
I followed up that conversation with a solid week of not finding time to sit, aside from a few minutes here and there in parking lots, or at my desk, or before sleep. A couple of days I drove to work with no radio or CD playing at all. Thoughts came and went. I'm not sure what it counts for, but it was settling, in all senses of the word.
Today I listened to the lovingkindness track on the CD. It's a Saturday, so I feel like I have all the time in the world, yet I was not feeling particularly relaxed, or even welcoming towards my meditation. But, like every time I make the time, the results are so rich, so surprising, and so grounding. I remain grateful for Sharon's continual reminders that whatever comes up is OK. It's so obvious as a theory, but it helps immeasurably in practice.
Each week I start the new form of meditation with a lot of latitude -- getting myself to sit down often seems like such a chore that I spend a lot of time reassuring myself that it's OK if I don't follow the plan or the instructions exactly. And then, at the end, I'm usually gratified by and grateful for the experience.
So today, when I heard Sharon say, memories might come up, I reflexively added to myself, lightning fast, but it's OK if they don't. And then, moments later, there they were. I don't know if I hadn't been listening to Sharon, that I would've even registered them as memories -- maybe I would've gotten caught up in them, maybe I would've pushed them away. Instead, there was a moment of, oh, look, memories, oh, look people, and then I was right back to the phrases.
If you asked me in my everyday life, is there a right way to meditate and a wrong way to meditate, I would tell you (with compassion for your simple and reductive notions), of course not. And yet, over the past week, and especially after today's lovingkindness meditation, it seems clear to me that i have held these distinctions pretty tightly. And who, I'm realizing, could possibly judge my most private interior state. Only me? Would I ever doubt or judge the experiences of meditation that anyone else conveyed to me? Of course not. So, in the spirit of lovingkindness,it seems only fair to not doubt or judge my own.