Last week, on yet another murky day after a sunny teaser, I found myself absorbing everything I witnessed on my short walk to work: the woman obviously high and helpless propped up by a man who was not; the squalling of a toddler after his mother shook him hard; the empty booze nips rolling under brittle oak leaves; the pigeon picking at dried vomit.
I felt the gray. I felt the bleakness. And the air filled me with a hopelessness I found difficult to shake.
By afternoon, I was in quite the funk, further compounded by news that not one, but two, people I knew had died. One after battling chronic illness, the other by his own hand. I guess you could say he also battled a chronic illness.
I suppose intensity of feeling is a hallmark of being a writer, a painter, a creator. After more than a year of intense personal turmoil, I'd practiced a way to moderate those feelings: meditation. I practiced meditation so I could find peace and strength to stay in the moment, no matter how hellish the moment. I also practiced to be able to ride through those moments of intense anxiety and depression that my life was peppered with for so long. I like to save meditation saved me, because it helped me to stay mindful of instants I needed to be mindful rather than lose my shit.
But this day last week revealed to me how after six months of relative peace, I'd become complacent again. I went to meditation practice the next night, and the leader, a wonderful wise woman, asked: why do we meditate? After discussion, she summed it up neatly:
We practice meditation so the mind doesn't control us, we control our mind.
As a writer--as a person--I am learning the challenge of allowing feelings to wash over and through me, to let them permeate me, and then: to let them go.
Do you have a meditation practice? Do you wish you did? Let's talk.