Over the years, I have come to accept that my spiritual life goes on a break when I'm visiting my mum in Belgium. Even when I manage to carve out some time for meditation, it never really works there, for whatever reason.
So it's good to get back home and pick up the thread again. For the first few days my body and mind have to get back into the routine. But soon enough I find myself completely present in my garden, aware of the frosty air, of the song of birds, and of my breath coming and going.
Meditation takes me to a place of stillness. I put my awareness, as steadily as I can, at the bottom of my breath. In that quiet space between breathing out and breathing in again. It is a natural pause, a place of rest.
Finding that stillness is lovely. It's like coming home, touching the place where all things are one. When I have that connection, I am able to observe my own reactions to life. I can go to a place beyond the emotions that come with everyday life.
On a good day, I can mother myself from there. We all have our vulnerabilities, childlike parts of ourselves that carry old wounds. When I manage to stay with the place of stillness, I can gently accept and hold all of those emotions. Feeling them and loving them without identifying with them.
On other days, I forget that being in that place beyond emotions does not mean that I can ignore them. It doesn't mean hanging on to peace for dear life while resisting the stresses and upsets that come my way. On those days, my muscles tense and my jaw clenches. It is the opposite of peace.
Which is why it is good for me to return to meditation a couple of times a day. So I can remember. In meditation, I have some time to notice where I am holding on too tightly. And to listen to those emotions as they pass.
It would be great if one day the place of stillness became second nature. But, as great meditation teachers say, that is not the point of meditation. The point is to return to the place of quiet awareness, to the bottom of the breath, again and again and again.
(photo from pixabay.com)