Every morning, I spend an hour in meditation followed by an hour that includes exercise, shower, and breakfast preparation. It is this mind-body connection that begins my day. While I will revisit physical exercise and food preparation, no day opens without meditation.
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall, while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then Return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the Way of Nature.”
~ Lao Tsu ~
Tao Te Ching
During my recent lupus flare, it was meditation that allowed me to empty and renew myself for the rise and fall of the ten thousand things. It was meditation that allowed me to explore the energy underlying every form of discomfort, the internal investigation as Devaji refers to it.
“When there is internal investigation as opposed to following the external movement,
it is possible to recognize that every form of
discomfort, every problem that is experienced, is happening inside of you.
If you do not have a problem inside, you do not have a problem. The mind will say that it is due to something out there, but where you experience the problem is inside.”
It is a familiar pattern of mine this looking to the outside for what may only be discovered on the inside. I have done it for almost all of my life but this past year of daily meditation has been a discovery of stillness, which is not to say the mind is ever quiet.
In meditation, which many teachers referred to as “taming of the mind,” there is no effort to reshape or redefine any of our thoughts. In meditation, we observe our thoughts, allowing them to bubble up and away from us without interference, without creating yet another thought.
Rather, we go into the stillness, to the energy producing our thoughts. Always, in meditation there is “light emphasis” on the breath (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) to sustain us as we sit in the stillness of our internal investigation, emptying ourselves.
As I understand mindfulness, it is bringing this technique to our day-to-day lives as they play out among the ten thousand things. For me, that means letting one storyline after another blow right past for I am interested in the energy supporting those thoughts. I am seeking the source.
In this lupus flare, rather than pursuing my usual cause-effect-solution approach—another way of describing this is replacing one storyline with another, albeit a new and untried solution—I sought the source, the stillness, with my breath.
Stillness or “nowness” is placing our awareness on our breath as the thoughts bubble up. The breath is no more manipulated than are the thoughts. The more the breath and mind are observed, the more there is just being, no judgment, just stillness.
Internally investigating my lupus flare allowed me to sit in the energy of the ten thousand things of which my life is just one. Rather than trying to starve or manipulate the lupus–the wolf–that is also of the ten thousand things, I just sat down with it in relationship.
Flares are never without their gifts nor is it surprising that those flares that burn brightest are always the most generous. This time, the gift of sitting meditation with the wolf has opened the door to a lifetime exploration of the rise and fall of the ten thousand things from the inside out.
Thanks to all of you for your generosity and kindness during this recent flare.