A while ago I met a young man while on a meditation retreat. He passionately shared wanting to learn to meditate because he couldn't break-free of all the negativity in his mind. He shared that he wanted to be more like one of those guys empowered to offer their energy toward calm, reliable resolutions, then just sitting back complaining and blaming or frozen in apathy or heavy with resentments.
He came to the cushion suffering anger, confusion, guilt and anxiety. He read that most who teach meditation, especially the Buddha, 2,600 years ago were un-apologetic that they were suffering. So he came to meditation hoping to realize how to alleviate anguish...to learn how to be present in the moment; how to be here now- how to stay with himself and not react, especially when distressed, depressed or manic!
Right away, he shared that the foundational mindfulness practices he was being taught, helped him find his breath and learn to come back from being lost in thought and stay with sensations that quickly shifted and changed. And that sitting with others supported him more than he realized. And further, learning to listen with his heart he felt connection where there had been none.
This blew his mind! As he meditated regularly in a group and heard how others were dealing with similar issues, he shared that he felt somehow connected to everyone's struggle. That underneath all mistaken-ness, that all people, including himself – even creatures and the earth, had the same inherent or basic goodness.
He said knowing that goodness, was the most radical and surprising shift in his consciousness. Some of the insecurity that was haunting him, completely vanished, leaving more space for finding the meaning of his life...and for having joy!
I look forward to practicing with you on Monday night through summer.
May we all awaken to our basic, inherent goodness.
May we find joy here and now with the way things are.
In finding freedom, may we connect with others and build a healthy, peaceful society and world.