I was really looking forward to sitting this morning. Yesterday I had too much going on and just couldn’t bear the stillness. The sit I put off ’til last night was fabulous – quiet and grounded and deep.
Today’s sit was very different, and not just because the sun was up; it was lighter, airier, all sorts of things rolling around in my head, but in a drifty kind of way I counldn’t really grab hold of even if I’d wanted to. Alive and buzzing like the bugs circling and zipping around the patio. For a moment I wondered if I was really meditating, it felt so different from last night.
Then I realized, I don’t think I’ve ever had the same sit twice. You get ideas in your head about what meditation is, what it does, what that experience is like; but there’s no one answer. There’s a hundred different flavours. Every day you sit down with who you are and where you’re at, every day who you are and where you’re at have shifted, changed a little (or a lot!) from the day before. Meditation is about connecting you with the moment you’re in, that moment is never the same, why should the meditation be?
The last 100 meditation project I did really put me through the ringer spiritually. Broke me down, cracked me open, transformed me in ways it took years to really assimilate (and who’s to say I’m not still assimilating it now). Freaked me the hell out, overwhelming and paradigm shifting. I didn’t sit much in the years following that, was afraid of tapping into that kind of intensity again. It was a hell of a lot of work; it takes a lot of energy to process that much spiritual work and a lot of my life seemed to be on hold while I went inwards and worked through all that.
So, something in me pushed me for another 100 day project now, and I answered that, though a little begrudgingly. I didn’t want to go through that again, set aside everything I had going on to do more spiritual work. 100 different flavours… this project is nothing like the last one, as of course it shouldn’t be – been there, done that.
For a while I was kind of disappointed I wasn’t having the same kind of intense experience, thought I was doing it wrong, a failure to connect or something. Not at all, I’m perfectly settled in doing the work I’m supposed to be doing now. And it’s different.
Having been broken down to get plugged in (a very personal, solitary sort of task) I’m now in the middle of taking that connection, settling it into my daily life and discovering how to connect with the rest of the world from that place. So my sits are less intense, more familiar, more comforting (and sometimes just more fun!) than the intensity of what I had gone through before.
And the writing is a very different process too. Last time my daily entries accumulated in a word document that, while it will eventually be shared with the world, at the time was just me, God, and my keyboard. The writing process was more internal, more solitary. Now, I’m posting daily on the web, and people are responding daily to what I post. It’s a dialog now, not a soliloquy.
The message is the medium. Because this is all happening daily in real time between myself and anybody who clicks on my site, it becomes a different thing, part of my process of finding how my internal connection fits in with my life and the world around me. This project wouldn’t be what it is if I was recording it differently.
A completely different flavour than last time, and that makes sense, I’m in a different place working on different things. And sure sometimes this project puts me in uncomfortable places, I feel overwhelmed, things get a little intense, but nothing like last time. The breaking down and opening up already happened, the connection is well established (though I’m sure will continue to be refined and deepened). It’s there, and it holds me steady, comforts me and gives me perspective as I go out into the world to explore and build my life.
My meditations are way different than last time, and I’m really glad for how this 100 days has illuminated that for me. Like a relationship that can start out intense, overwhelming, and a tonne of work as you try and take it all in; if you get through that, you settle, there’s comfort and support and familiarity. Something gentler to get you through.
And I should probably add: way more fun. I’ve found myself spontaneously breaking out in a great big grin, for no reason at all – in the middle of sitting, while walking, or just putzing around by myself. Like I’ve suddenly remembered some great joy. Being happy for no reason at all seems kinda weird, but I’m digging it.
And grateful for the sitting I’m doing now, learning from the differences.