I hesitated for a moment before posting this -which is probably some sort of indication that this is something I really need to confess especially to my son. I am exploring mindfulness and the practice of meditation to center my mind.
Meditation like fasting and prayer in the sacred scriptures is not something that is a mere suggestion , it is and was an accepted practice. Meditation is a place to come center. Psalms 1 suggests that it plants us firmly like a tree soaking up the rivers of water preparing the tree to bear fruit.
One of the meditation practices is the deceptively simple practice in which you think about breathing. You think about each breath, in and out. When I was a child I remember being asked to take a nap. While in repose I would become aware of my breathing. I remember becoming so aware of it that I became frightened. I worried that if I stopped thinking about it I would stop breathing. I didn’t understand that in that situation not breathing was impossible.
You cannot control that part of you. The body breaths as long as all the wiring is intact.
Isn’t it funny that the one central part of you that keeps you alive is something you cannot control? You can concentrate and make yourself breath deeply but you cannot sustain it for long, once you stop concentrating your body assumes its own rhythm. You can get excited and breath quickly depleting your CO2 with the result being that you pass out from hyperventilation. But once you pass out your body begins to breath normally again.
What is the result of being aware of such simple things? There are those who encourage us to be more mindful suggesting that we should observe our thoughts as separate from us, acknowledge our moods as something that will come and go like the tide. They suggest that in doing so we might be able to step outside of ourself to act towards others with kindness, compassion and understanding. Could it be so simple and yet so difficult to take time in this world that tugs at us from every direction to think outside of ourselves?
I remember my mother complaining, lamenting that she could not help how she felt. The truth is because she did not know how to, she indeed could not. Thoughts are like unruly pups that run away quickly if we do not try to be aware of them. The thoughts nudge our mood and soon we find it difficult to function or function in unbecoming ways.
My bouts with grief are intense. The song about something coming in like a wrecking ball seems like a good analogy for the intensity. It knocks me off my feet momentarily and I feel like I truly cannot breath. I am willing to try and learn a practice that will allow me to observe it, recognize it and strangely enough – honor it – even the pain. I may be sitting on the floor where it knocked me when I finally find the strength to honor it but that will be an improvement.
In the moments after I meditate I am able to picture lighter things. My imagination serves me well. Recently after visiting our beautiful public library I find myself picturing myself like this structure with vast windows that light can flood through. I am filled with shelves of information that I have experienced and seen and learned from others. Not all of the words and ideas are happy. But they are written.
They are proof of who I am and where I have been and seen and experienced. Any one of the shelves is at my disposal to visit or to pass by for the time being.
Every day, every single day there are moments given over to thinking of, wishing for, missing and mourning my son. It is something that is lodged close to the spot that regulates my breathing. It resides in the space that holds the feelings for my daughter and my husband and all those I care about in life who give me strength and reassure me.
Is meditating going to fix anything that has happened? No. It may however help me rest for a bit , to gain my balance, to give me space to think, observe, process and honor.
Given the influence the gift of my family has been in my life I do in all ways want to honor them while I still breath. I honor my son , my mother and dad and my husbands parents too. I may be among the last on earth to do so in this time if even only for this day.