I’ve just finished meditating. This one was a near continuous process of bringing myself back, again and again, from wherever my spinning mind had carried me. This type of sitting experience has been compared to training a puppy, who loves nothing more than to traipse from the path into that inviting lake, or this patch of brambles, and needs to be introduced to the joys of staying put.
There’s another metaphor, though, that fits a bit better for me. When I have one of these sittings, I’m reminded of the story of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane who, despite a direct request from their beloved Jesus, simply could not remain awake. This story captures my all too usual state of mind. Whether in my meditation or my daily life, I fall asleep regularly, despite my intention to retain a simple awareness. Whether I’ve succumbed to dreams of the past or future while meditating, or find myself responding as though some minor inconvenience or annoyance were a BIG DEAL, I’ve fallen asleep once again to the truth of life as it is.
I know I’m not alone; I realize this is part of the human condition. I believe, in fact, that it is the essence and a main purpose of the human experience. As I have grown within my own life and heard the stories and struggles of others, I have come to trust that one of our main purposes for being on earth is to develop our ability to live as truly awakened beings--aware and conscious--and to have our behavior, and even our thoughts, come from that conscious awareness.
Now, while being asleep comes easily to us humans, thankfully, so does the desire to awaken. This desire may present itself simply as a thirst for a richer, more soulful life. Or it may arrive through some sort of inner or outer strife that seems to want to pull us kicking and screaming into wakefulness. Either way, an opportunity is presented.
I’m encouraged by the fact that, for as many times as I fall asleep, just that often do I awaken again. My meditation practice is designed only to extend the amount of time I spend awake. And each time I come to and see the garden of my own life spread out around and within me, I have reinforced the joy of experiencing life as it is.
So, here’s to waking again and again!