My mind was always going 100 miles a minute. Many years ago a friend took me to a meditation center because she thought I really needed it. She was wise. I would have been the poster child for a place like that if I had done the work. Well, that didn’t happen. I went 3 times. It was a pattern; I took guitar lessons for 3 weeks (after paying for 10), I went to the gym for 3 weeks (after paying for a year), and I got married for 12 years (after saying it was forever). Good God, my inability to stick with it is expensive.
Week 1 at the Meditation Center: The teacher gave a lecture on being in the present moment. That was supposedly the key to liberation. I had been a member of a women’s liberation movement for several years and I liked the idea of liberation so I practiced being in the present moment; the NOW (that was the group I belonged to- perfect). For the next 3 weeks I was firmly locked in the present moment, mostly criticizing my boss, my job, the person I was dating and my lack of money. It was really amazing to me how much negativity my mind was capable of in the present moment. It seemed natural now to be in the present moment. I was on my way to liberation.
Week 2 at the Meditation Center: The teacher gave a lecture on compassion. That was supposedly the key to liberation. I certainly could use some compassion. The teacher said I needed to give some to myself and some to others. I had some experience doing that. When Christmas shopping I would buy 2 things for myself for every one gift I bought for a friend or family member. So I tried all week to be understanding and see that others were suffering and needed my compassion. At the end of week two I decided they were suffering because they were idiots and weren’t doing what I said. I had gained real clarity. Liberation was growing.
Week 3 at the Meditation Center: The teacher gave a lecture on emptiness. I didn’t understand a word of it. Apparently if I understood that everything was empty, I would gain liberation. My gas tank was almost empty and that was going to cost me $50.00. My checking account had fully achieved emptiness. I failed miserably at trying to empty my mind during the meditation: Ugh. This wasn’t going well. Was this part of renunciation? The way my life was going I would soon achieve complete emptiness and forced renunciation. Liberation was well on its way.
That is the complete history of my life in the ashram; well, going to a meditation center 3 times. I learned 3 things. 1) Being in the present moment, compassion and emptiness are ways to liberation. 2) I had no idea what they were talking about, and 3) These 3 weeks had, for the first time, made me look at my mind. It wasn’t pretty.
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