In this quiet time
the world recedes. The leaves stir
and tell me secrets.
Around the time Daddy went into hospital, I was just getting into meditation. I used to think it was all about concentrating on something. But as I read more about it, I learnt that it was about emptying the mind. Empty minds! An easy enough concept for us humans, I thought.
It's actually very difficult. My mind would start planning and worrying and daydreaming the moment I tried to still it. I discovered that fighting the thoughts just doesn't work with meditation. Fighting is violent, after all, and trying to link it to meditation makes as much sense as the concept of killing for peace.
So the thoughts would come and I'd learn to label them: oh, that goes in the planning box, that one is for worrying later on - and then I'd move on. Gradually I found it easier. Letting the thoughts in was not as bad as I thought it was. I just had to let them go, not hold on to them to dwell upon. The only time I found meditation didn't work was when I was in the middle of an anxiety attack over Dad's cancer. That time my fears were stronger than my peace, and they flooded in, uncontrollable, and overwhelmed me. That experience taught me not to try meditating in the middle of anxiety attacks! (Deep breathing exercises are a better option at such times).
But meditating, even for just ten minutes a day, does wonders for my sanity, and it's a bit like decluttering or spring cleaning - something I love compulsively! First, I've got to do a wander around the house of my mind, just looking. That way I see where everything is and where everything goes. Then I can deal with it later in an organised way. Otherwise I rush about trying to do everything at once, and the house doesn't look any less messy when I'm done.
But when I give myself this quiet time, of just looking and being - without judgment or planning or worrying or even hoping - that's when the soul of the world opens up and speaks to me.