I had a rather interesting experience in meditation this morning. I sat on my usual cushion, placed my body in the usual position, closed my eyes and began bringing my attention to my breath in the usual way… and almost immediately, I felt a sense of physical release, then mental ease. I felt like I had come home to a very pleasant, familiar spot. I felt completely relaxed, completely at ease, completely comfortable with myself and the world around me. I ‘just’ sat – and in the sitting, I felt like everything was just…wonderful.
It’s actually really difficult for me to put into words the experience that I had. I guess what surprised me the most was that, in these past 2 years of daily meditation practice, I’ve had LOTS of sittings where I felt physically pained, and/or mentally ‘restless’ (read: absolutely frenetic in my crazy brain), and/or emotionally crappy (frustrated, annoyed, doubting…); and I’ve had many days where I sat in meditation not because I wanted to, but because I felt like I ‘should’ – my meditation practice was done more out of a sense of obligation and a feeling of ‘I-know-this-is-good-for-me-but-damn-I-really-don’t-want-to-do-it-but-I-guess-I-need-to…’ than from a place of enjoyment or even appreciation… And this morning, I wasn’t overly excited to meditate (I wasn’t resisting it, but I wasn’t looking forward to it, either; it was just another part of my morning routine that I needed to do so that I could continue on with my day, just like showering or drying my hair) – but within seconds of sitting down, I felt a sense of, “aaahhhhh…… welcome home.”
I have learned enough from my Buddhist studies and my own meditation practice to not try and re-create this experience tomorrow, and to not seek it out in future meditation sessions (that would be grasping, and grasping only leads to futility, frustration, and distress); but instead to recognize it for what it is/was, to appreciate having had the experience, and to use it as a bit of an ‘insurance policy’ in future times of doubt or struggle. I now know that meditation “works” because I’ve experienced the ‘workingness’ of it first hand – and it’s powerful, and lovely, and liberating. And I’m deeply grateful for it.