This week I gave an interview to a writer who is pulling together an article on contemplative practice and communication. He ruefully explained at the outset that he will be working with a 100-word limit. Fantastic! This is a meditation teacher’s best constraint. Concise, precise, coherent teaching is the most effective way to convey what meditation holds out to those who sense the potential.
My interviewer got to the point quite quickly. He asked what I know about why people come to the practice of meditation. Now there’s a question that could generate a lifetime of answers!
Here’s how I responded: For most people, something feels “off.” It’s the kind of off-ness that is not responding to the known array of solutions. The something could be about handling a difficult condition in life: physical pain, trouble with the boss, overburden in general, a feeling of missing out, anger, compulsive behavior, depression, generic edginess. This off-ness can just as easily manifest as a curiosity about the possibility of “something more.” Somehow, even with the expansive selection of life strategies and experiences we all have access to, there is a sense that when we add it all up, there’s still something important missing.
Most people who make it in the door stick around to listen and learn even a little bit, and for whatever the draw, their “something off” responds to meditation. There is a common, compelling response to what is inherently available, this very human quality of being, that arises through the cultivation of good-hearted attending to moment-by-moment experience. With a realistic mix of such nuances as skepticism, confusion, and certainty, that common response, in a nutshell: Yes!
Now, I turn this question right over to you, dear reader. Today, you chose to read this post. Why? This is a blog that asks you to ask yourself that kind of question, and to receive what comes with curiosity and an open heart. What are you after, as a first-time reader or months-long follower of this microscopic meditation form? This is an important question, mostly for you yourself. Please take this moment, right now, to pause, consider, and give yourself at least 20 seconds, to notice any and all answers that show up.
Having a good-hearted space to ask such questions and be with whatever answers arrive is maybe enough for you. Perhaps you found new information to take in, or to act on, or questions of your own to contemplate. I wish you all the best with what you discovered. And, if you’re willing to post a response, a phrase or a longer reflection, you may inspire another reader in a way they hadn’t known. Lastly, Jon and I can take what is given and use it to craft this form more precisely, concisely and coherently for our intrepid band of readers. As always, we invite your comments…