I think that many of us, myself included, begin trying to meditate in the hopes of being well happy and peaceful. But when we start meditating, we often find that instead we feel sick, unhappy and agitated.
That would not be a very good title for this Blog would it!
Unfortunately, many people who begin meditation find themselves getting quickly disturbed and overwhelmed with emotions. This can easily take someone off the cushion and cause them to stop trying to meditate.
But truth to be told, these disturbing thoughts and emotions are exactly why one should stay on the cushion.
Observing the rising and falling of these many thoughts and feelings allows the mind to gain clarity and peace with these realities. Like watching a movie, you learn to become a silent observer. Without making judgements or searching for solutions, we can become skillful in acceptance. We learn the nature of this life, and become increasingly aware that just as our breath comes and goes, so do our thoughts and emotions. Clinging to one or the other is obviously an exercise in futility.
Unfortunately, for many, jumping up off the cushion seems to be the solution.
But can you see that there is no escape from the realities of this life or circumstances that you currently face? Does avoiding the cushion make these things go away? Of course not. You have simply avoided the truth, and very temporarily postponed everything which is.
Personally, I can tell you that each time I meditate is a unique experience. Sometimes it feels peaceful and loving the entire time, while other sittings are filled with agitation and tension. Often times, it is a combination of many physical and mental states. I may start feeling very tense, then reach a place of peace where an involuntarily smile appears on my face. Minutes later, I sometimes find my body is tense again.
But understanding this is the nature of things and accepting the coming and going is the real path towards peace.
We cannot escape reality and we cannot escape ourselves.
Mediation is simply a place to observe, accept and love. With practice, I believe, comes the wisdom and skill to be fully present and compassionate in all areas of our lives.
I hope you will give yourself a chance for this, and allow yourself to see the loving person that you are right there on that cushion. There is no need to escape.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.