Establishing meditation

Q. When I started meditation I realised that I had so many expectations from everyone and from life in general, but it’s pointless and leads to lots of problems.

I don’t know if you have any advice on how to avoid such situations in future as it causes a lot of pain for me and those around me!

A. You have yourself realised the most important clue --expectations. My observation of you and your characteristic mode of interacting with the world is that you are an energetic, get-things-done (with enthusiasm), get-good-results kind of person. You want to throw yourself into things and move things along---right?

But naturally you expect progress, and rewards, and are impatient if they don't materialize when or how you expect, or believe that (in a lawful universe) they should.

Now I've described it, I'm sure you can see it, and you can probably also see yourself what needs to happen to correct it!

Not looking for results is hard: it’s counter-the- norm and a subtle point to grasp. A salmon trusts its homing instinct to swim against the current, listening to the instinctive call of the spawning-ground, although his activity seems slightly mad to sensible fish. After all, there is plenty of river down on the plain….

Daily quiet disciplines of remembrance at times outside formal meditation will help you channel your energy, avoid explosions and are used for deepening the moment in any activity.

Time also needs to be invested though. Time is the capital people either don't feel they have, or don't want to invest that way. Investment is a good metaphor--you sense potential, and you invest what you can, even if results aren't immediate, or never realised. Working towards the project is of value in itself, and other things may spring from it.

You have established a meditation practice. You can make that sacrosanct--every day, humbly without expecting anything, but prioritised and strictly observed, including the limits in the instructions (eg. 2 hours one day won’t be equivalent to 4 half hour sessions over four days. The conditions and the effect will be different). ‘Strictly’ is the arrow-head—though you don't know where it's heading.

Wisdom flowers from energies contained like seeds in darkness, but directed through reading, study, practices so that there’s growth towards something --towards space, daylight, air. But it takes its own shape--you won't know the specific contours in advance, even if you think you know what it should look like.

You may long to be an oak, but if the seed is pencil cypress, don’t look for acorns.


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These musings are responses to a context, a time, a place, a query. Another time, another context. An angle slightly different, a different response, perhaps seemingly in contradiction.

But Truth is present if it resonates truthfully, and in the process should generate more questions...

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