(Maria sitting at the Vernal Equinox bonfire at the farm last night, celebrating the coming of Spring.)
It’s odd for me to be teaching a meditation class, I always sought teachers when it came to meditating, I have never thought of myself as one. Yet I’ve been meditating on and off for 20 years, and you don’t really need a permit or degree. I’ve learned a lot, I was just self-absorbed to see it.
I’m delighted to have a chance to pass along to the Mansion residents some of the things along that I have learned. Meditation has shaped and enriched my life and understanding of myself.
I teach things like how to breathe, and when to let go, and how not to judge myself, and how to come back to a peaceful place when my mind crosses the border and runs around like baby rabbit being chased by a cat.
Several of my meditation teachers have told me that we all have a peaceful place, and that the beauty of meditation is that we can find it if we look and listen. We don’t have to go anywhere.
I have found this to be true.
I told my first meditation students, Mansion residents much older than I am, that I know they need a peaceful place, their lives are full of challenge and discomfort and illness and fear.
We all have a safe and peaceful place inside of us, we really don’t have to search far and wide for it. I close my eyes, think of my breath. In my mind I am on elevator, going down and down.
I feel that every floor on the way down opens to a failure, a hurt, a fear, a mistake, a resentment in my life. No wonder it took so long. I didn’t want to stop at any of them.
The elevator takes a long time, I pass many different kinds of sounds and smells. My eyes are closed, I am listening.
After awhile, the doors open, and I open my eyes, and I am deep inside of myself, a quiet place full of echoes and sweet sounds – rustling leaves, gardens, running stream, wolves howling, I can even hear the flowers growing and unfurling.
In my peaceful place – I have to be alone – there is no anger, no fear, no past, no future – just now, just the moment, just the present. I float in this place, like a kid in a stream lying on his back. The kid is me.
The peaceful place is my secret, my respite, my sanctuary. It gives me strength and soothes me, and then when I am ready, I get back in the elevator and rise up and up and into the world.
And when I step out, I am calm, I am at peace.
That, I said to my students, was my meditation today. I found my peaceful place. And then, I saw that their eyes were all closed and it was still.
Thank you for teaching us, said Sylvie. My heart swelled with pride.