Lint-Trap 2/21/01: It Was Meditation, I Know


It Was Meditation, I Know


One of the strangest things I have taken up since coming to California is meditation. A group of us meet for two hours every Wednesay evening for 10 weeks, then take a month or two off, then do it again. We aren't totally strict about meditating. We start by sharing our week--we typically have a theme to hold before us in the week, but a lot of our live come out in the sharing too. Then we meditate for 45 minutes or so, then some walking meditation, a reading and discussion of the next theme, a few more minutes of meditation, and closing.

The group has been meeting for over 20 years. We are typically about 8 or so, with occasional days of 4 and others of 12. I've been coming for about 3 years now.

Meditation is a profoundly unnatural act for me. Fifteen years ago, I was nearly unable to close my eyes in church when a prayer was being said. I think the term is hypervigilant, and it's common with those who have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

When I did the Workshop That Changed My Life three years ago, I learned something of the Traumas that had led to this. A few years earlier, I had learned Reiki, which, by getting me into my body and out of my head, had opened the door to meditation for me.

This was the first meeting since the Holidays. So we caught up. One of our number is having nightmares, although the surface of her life appears untroubled. Another's mother had a heart attack at Christmas, and all she could feel was anger and irritation that this woman who had damaged her life so much in the past was still capable of damaging it in the present. Another member reported that the love affair that looked so promising at Thanksgiving barely made it into the new year.

One of the more interesting guys in the group is in his 70's, and had the most macho of careers, including a time running a spy ring during world war II. Now he is working in a daycare center with 2- to 5-year-olds. And loving every minute of it. It is a joy to see.

And our leader, of course. She is one of the leaders of the Workshop I mentioned, and the meditation group is open only to graduates. So everyone there has done some serious work on themselves. She is in her 70's, British accent, raised Jewish but only in the last decade or so taking this tradition seriously. We take themes and do readings from all traditions--we read Zukov's "Care of the Soul", Remen's "My Grandfather's Blessing", Psalms, the Prayer of Saint Francis, the Eightfold Path.

The themes are very interesting. One week, the theme was gossip. We were to observe, when we were talking to another person, when the mention of a third person, not present, was made, who made it, and what effect it had on the conversation. And eventually, to avoid bringing others into the conversation.

Try it! It's a pretty interesting experience. I'll share some of our experiences in a few days, so as not to spoil your fun...

In other matters, I remain concerned about Diana. She is on an antidepressant that might better be described as an anti-emotive. She looks and feels like she is half asleep. Hope she and the doctor can get the meds worked out.

And I'm able to type in this entry! The nice Verizon guy showed up yesterday and ran me a personal ISDN line across my driveway and up the hill through the woods, bypassing the stretch of rotten cable. So my line is now working perfectly, despite a howling rainstorm going on outside. I'll include a photo of "my ISDN line" snaking up into the hills in a future entry (don't want to get my digicam wet...). Kind of neat. A more permanent repair will happen in about a month, or whenever it stops storming...

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.