Perks in observing
Over a year ago I started a meditation group at my work place (see the January 12 entry). I put a lot of effort into creating the group, partly because I was asked to, partly because I thought it would be cool to, partly because I wanted to help other people experience meditation, and partly because I wanted to have this resource available for myself from time to time. For the first six months of the group’s existence, I led the weekly meditation sessions. For the next four months, I tried to find other people in the workplace who would be willing to read a facilitation script and lead a few sessions, so that the sole burden of running these meetings each and every week could be lifted form me.
For the past four months, many people have stepped forward to help lead the group sessions – which has been fantastic. But as I was released from the responsibility of leading the sessions, I stopped attending the sessions. I have still maintained my own personal daily meditation practice (20-30 minutes each morning), but when noon on Tuesday came around, I felt resistance to walking to the conference room where the meditation was occurring – so I didn’t go. I think I was just burned out a little bit.
However, this month (for whatever reason), people have not been volunteering to facilitate sessions like they had been – so I stepped in, and have led the weekly sessions for several weeks now. Filling this gap has been a terrific reminder to me of the power of meditation. I’ve gotten the chance to see five, eight, eleven people walk into a room looking harried, anxious, fatigued – and at the end of a mere 20 minutes of meditation, to see these same individuals look visibly different. Furrowed brows become a bit smoother, hunched shoulders become a little more relaxed. People also verbally comment on the changes to their interior state; “I feel much better” is a common phrase many people share. They don’t always (or even often) know exactly why they feel better – only that they do feel better. Such is the wonder – and goodness – of meditation.
Sometimes it can be easy for me to question meditation. Why am I spending all of this time just sitting with my eyes closed, when there are so many other things I could be doing? Am I really gaining any benefits from all of this? Would I really be missing anything if I quit doing this? Why do I sit every morning, when some days I really just don’t want to do it? Meditation yields positive results after every single session; but sometimes the benefits given are very, very small. Often the benefits from meditation accumulate like single grains of sand, or single drops of water – and it can be difficult remain encouraged by them, when some days (most days?) what I really want is a big ol’ BANG! of enlightenment. Give me a truck-full of sand, a lake-full of water! Hit me with instant awakening!
So for impatient, anxious, restless me, having the opportunity to see small benefits and changes in others can serve as a wonderful reminder for myself. I wish everyone who ever struggles in maintaining their practice could get the chance to see the impact meditation has on others – it’s quite remarkable. At least, for me, it’s been a great inspiration and motivation to continue on the path.