Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcoming the tides

Though it wasn't raining this morning, and there's nothing resting on our windowsills today, this was pretty much the view that greeted me when I sat down to meditate today. It's high tide season again, and it's been raining a lot, so the water that usually keeps a respectful distance from the house has a way of creeping up under the deck.

But we were lucky: the winds were light, and they were coming from the south, not the north (which is off to the right in this picture) so we weren't being hammered by the waves. Nonetheless, I found the sound of logs bumping against the deck supports distracting during my morning meditation, and I didn't quite make it the whole 20 minutes; I was too curious to see where the bumping noise was coming from.

Which means, of course, that I was thinking more than I was meditating, though you could claim I was completely in the present, attuned to the sounds around me. And I did realize -- or remember, or rediscover -- one good thing: I'm actually, in some part of my being, a person who embraces and welcomes risk and change; I even look forward to having my mettle tested -- else why would I choose to live in a place like this?

And I do actually believe that God works through all things for good for those who believe. I'm realizing the anxiety I've been feeling isn't about whatever is going to be thrown in my path. It's more about worrying I'm not doing my part; that there's something I've missed, some road unexplored, some job forgotten and left undone, some unintentional slight that's wounded someone else or failed to preserve and honor the gifts we do have here in this amazing place. And it's somehow connected to a message I got from my mom as a kid: she was always accusing me of being lazy. So if I'm not busy and productive every moment, there's a guilt and anxiety that set in.

Hmm. Good to know, I guess -- and certainly something to ponder.


Maureen said...

I know just what you mean about the feeling you get when "not busy and productive". My mother never seemed to slow down, just sit, be at rest, and now, at 82, she still thinks she can do everything! It drives us, her children, nuts. She didn't accuse us of being lazy; she could see how her untaught lesson wormed itself into us, as though innately ingrained. Only recently have I succeeded in allowing myself the pleasure of "doing nothing"; wow, it feels great. It's a pleasure hard won.

Kimberly Mason said...

I was accused of being lazy too. But maybe it's because being contemplative was what we were MEANT to be.

I was just listening to a podcast from Speaking of Faith, an interview with Matthieu Ricard. He talked about how a taxi driver or truck driver who has spent over 10,000 hours will have the portion of the brain that he uses in his job to be aware of his surroundings at all times, to remember streets and to estimate time and route and so on to be larger than the average person's brain.

And he talks about how those who have been meditating for 10,000 hours have a portion of their brain that grows larger and makes them happier, more peaceful and contemplative people. That even people that meditate for 10 minutes a day for a short period of time see changes.

Perhaps we have a talent for contemplation. Maybe our inactivity as a child, the daydreaming, was growing our brain in different and interesting ways. A whole new way to think of it...