You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Franz Kafka
My baby inspires me to meditate and she's not even born yet.
I can't compare my meditation practice to anyone else's, as this is such a deeply personal and intimate journey, that there is no comparison. It's like trying to compare marriages - no basis for comparison one to another. But throughout the course of my own practice, there have been major surges - like tidal waves of commitment and dedication and also major ebbs - deep withdrawals and pushing of the practice away. It seems even more dramatic than my relationship to yoga - the other major spiritual path that I have walked for the last 13 or so years. I have never completely not practiced yoga for a period of months. But meditation practice shows you such deeply buried thngs about yourself, it lays you so bare and naked, that there are times when I have chosen to stay dressed, thank you very much. Where it feels like a magnetic repulsion to put my butt down on that cusion and look at my mind.
I'm coming off of one of those backlash against the practice jags right now. No matter how I tried, how I made the time in the day, how I berated myself for not sitting (which, by the way does nothing good, and is not recommended by my teacher, it's just a deeply buried habit that I have yet to release), I even consulted with my teacher about my lack of commitment at the time, and to no avail. There was something visceral keeping me from the practice. Now, I tried to keep mindful on other levels - to bring it more decidedly into my yoga practice and teaching, to take more walks and get outside, etc., but in the end I didn't make it to my cushion consistently for the better half of a year.
I haven't even met this little one cooking in my belly yet, and yet something has shifted so dramatically. My inclination now is to sit all the time. In the past when I've returned from meditation retreat - in those times when I haven't found the time in the morning before work to sit, I've sat at work on a lunch break, as I've been so in the habit of doing it and so inspired by the practice... well I'm doing that now. And the really fun thing is that at home I sit in the baby's room. Now, I do have a small altar set up in our guest room, and there's plenty of room in there to actually sit, and the baby's room is still a little dishevelled - it's still half storage room from our move, half storage for the coming baby room, and totally not a place where I'd normally sit, if this coming kid wasn't mine. But it is, and the baby's room has such a happy, bright sun-shiny energy for me right now. It makes me want to spend the whole day in there. It helps me stay on target with the meditation when I get distracted - something about connecting to this process of motherhood, and of 'growing baby' inside of me keeps me really grounded when I do my meditation in there. It's pretty cool, I must say.
And again (I am finding this a recurring theme - that of trying not to project my hopes and fears onto the baby) I am going to try not to put the cart in front of the horse - so I will voice this hope once, here for the world to read, then never again. I hope I can continue to sit in there even after the baby comes. I don't know if this is just the naive ruminations of a pre-first time mother, but I have these visions of putting her to sleep in her crib, then sitting down for a half an hour or so and just watching myself in her presence. Not watching her, mind you, as I'm sure there'll be plenty of that going on too, but watching myself and allowing my mind's eye to travel inward, inspired by wanting to be the best mom I can be, and to be a role model of the utmost caliber. To dive inside the workings of my own mind seems like something that being in the presence of her, for whom I try to be a clear and loving guide, will come easily. And in a selfish sort of way, I hope to also inspire her and to model to her a behavior that is a prized one in our household - that of being a mindful watcher.
I wonder how it affects a child growing up to be in the presence of someone meditating on a regular basis. It seems a little absurd in the context of our western culture of go, go, go. Of tv, and internet - social media, and hand held "learning" devices, a.k.a. video games, that being mindful would be something that a child would be capable of. It seems that children are meant to be stimulated and constantly encouraged to explore their world. But that particular paradigm implies a stimulation and an exploration through their senses - through what they see, hear, touch, smell and taste. That stuff is inevitable and will happen all day long regardless of whether I take a half hour to sit with my child. Is it bananas to hope that they might also be turned on the to the eastern paradigm of exploring their rich inner world too? I mean, look at countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Tibet, etc., where small boys (lets not get on the tangent of why small girls don't get this opportunity, but at least be happy that small anybodys get it) enter the monestery at very young ages, to preempt their starvation if they stay with their poor families, or their turning to a life of crime and/or drug abuse otherwise. These kids are turned to the dharma, and to an internal life of mindfulness and of service from toddlerhood. I know it's possible.
I know it's possible, and the cool part is that I want to do it, not for the aspirational quality of my hope, but I just feel drawn to put my cushion down in the baby's room. There's no sense of obligation or of determination or diligence (should I be admitting that?) but just one of the natural flow of how things feel right and will fall together as they should be. We'll see what actually turns out from this little social experiment as time goes on, but at least for now, while it's still quite quiet around me, that's where I'll plant my bum and watch my mind.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!