Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What should I do about my meditation practice?

I recently started reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and have to say I am really loving the book. I think she's brilliant, funny, insightful, and has got me jus itchin' to travel....
Has anyone else read it?

Gilbert presents her story like traditional mala beads, weaving together 108 tales or beads. The number 108 is seen to be very auspicious, "a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to nine, which is three threes." She then divides the mala-book into three sections about her travels to three countries Italy, India, and Indonesia. This leaves us with three sections of 36 tales, written during her 36th year of life! Wow that's a lot of threes...

Right now we're in an ashram in India....
Here's an excerpt that I found particularly meaningful, and humorous :

"What should i do about my meditation practice?" I ask Richard one day, as he's watching me scrub the temple floors. (He's lucky - he works in the kitchen, doesn't even have to show up there until an hour before dinner. But he likes watching me scrub the temple floors. He thinks it's funny.)

"Why do you have to do anything about it, Groceries?"

"Because it stinks."

"Says who?"

"I can't get my mind to sit still."

"Remember what the Guru teaches us - if you sit down with the pure intention to meditate, whatever happens next is none of your business. So why are you judging your experience?"

"Because what's happening in my meditations cannot be the point of this Yoga."

"Groceries, baby - you got no idea what's happening in there."

"I never see visions, I never have transcendent experiences - "

"You wanna see pretty colors? Or you wanna know the truth about yourself? What's your intention?"

"All I seem to do is argue with myself when I try to meditate."

"That's just your ego, trying to make sure it stays in charge. This is what your ego does. It keeps you feeling separate, keeps you with a sense of duality, tries to convince you that you're flawed and broken and alone instead of whole."

"But how does that serve me?"

"It doesn't serve you. Your ego's job isn't to serve you. Its only job is keep itself in power. And right now, your ego's scared to death cuz it's about to get downsized. You keep up this spiritual path, baby, and that bad boy's days are numbered. Pretty soon your ego will be out of work, and your heart'll be making all the decisions. So your ego's fighting for its life, playing with your mind, trying to assert its authority, trying to keep you cornered off in a holding pen away from the rest of the universe. Don't listen to it."

"How do you not listen to it?"

"Every try to take a toy away from a toddler? They don't like that, do they? They start kicking and screaming. Best way to take a toy away from a toddler is distract the kid, give him something else to play with. Divert his attention. Instead of trying to forcefully take thoughts out of your mind, give your mind something better to play with. Something healthier."

"Like what?"

"Like love, Groceries. Like pure divine love."

(p. 140-141)

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