conscious wellbeing for ourselves & our world
Arda, I loved your post and thank you so much. I want to share some of my experience with meditation. For the past 30 years, my practice has been off and on - I meditate regularly for 6 months, feeling more and more illuminated, recognizing how my life is changing, my relationships changing for the better. Then invariably I hit a dark and frightening place - my thoughts assail me with blame, regret, self-denigration over how I have failed someone with my selfishness or have caused them harm in some way due to my commission or omission of something I should have done. It becomes so bad and so insistent that I have to give up the meditation for months or years until the longing for the richness and depth meditation brings to my mind takes me back to the cushion. I have read and listened to hours of Pema Chodren and other wise teachers about this happening. So, this year, once again I decided to try again. But I had also started another practice concurrently which was suggested in the Artist's Way. That is everyday to write 3 pages without the editing, critical mind - just writing from the soul. It has become like excavating all the past conditioning lurking inside - releasing it. I have come to realize, those dark parts of ourselves grow until bursting, until it is time when our soul is strong enough, courageous enough to let them arise into the light and be released. It has become a practice of surrendering to what is.
It has reminded me of the allegory of the cave. The mouth of the cave is covered with beautiful flowers and green lush vines, obviously alluring and well cared for. It is much like the self we show to the world. After all, we all want and need love, so we make our external selves beautiful, with all the qualities we think everyone will be attracted to. Sure enough, the bees and hummingbirds come attracted by the sweet nectar and colors that emanate. But they take what they need and off they go. It is a superficial connection at best. We long for more. So, we enter the mouth of the cave, entering inside where all we find is dark, damp, cold with slithering creatures we cannot see, and cobwebs we brush against in fear. This is where many of us stop and run out, and return to the superficial life where perhaps it is shallow and unrewarding, but at least it isn't frightening. We also leave thinking this is who we really are and try ever harder to present ourselves in an acceptable way, being careful not allowing anyone in who might run when they see how dark and damaged our real self is.
Maybe, we stay out for however long each of us can stand the superficiality of it, or for however long it takes us to muster up the courage to try again. We are like dragon slayers in myths, being drawn to the holy grail we know is inside. And so, with trepidation, but courage and determination, we enter into whatever depths of darkness we face because our soul is calling us from inside this cave. We hear it - we know it. We enter with sword slashing, but rather than the dragon, we find the parts of ourselves we have pushed aside as not worthy to be seen - even by ourselves. They have held our pain but also our joy, and so much of what makes each of us a gift of God within ourselves. And now, rather than being frightened, we feel overwhelming understanding and compassion for ourselves. It is then we see the inner sanctum of this cave, bright white light emanates from its opening, and we are filled with love and a feeling of oneness. We are drawn inside. It is indescribably beautiful, and we know we are finally home. We have found our true divine selves. sue