Thursday, January 28, 2010

Driving Lessons: Part 2

The Meditation Story (continued from last entry):

Meditation stools, if you’ve never seen or used one, are elegantly simple. Two solid sides support a slanted seat positioned just high enough off the ground for the legs to tuck under. I asked Fritz to build me one for Christmas, but later changed my mind. We were busy with company during the holidays and I was sure he wouldn’t have time to work on it.

I missed having a stool though, especially for early morning sessions. Maybe your legs are ready to fold into virasana (hero’s pose) or sukhasana (easy pose) at 6:30 am. Mine aren’t. Add predawn body aches to a mind already buzzing with thoughts, stories and commentary and I’ve soon embarked on a meditation that feels more like a beehive than peaceful emptiness. (Meditation guideline #1: Get comfortable).

It's worth the preparation. Time spent meditating is time spent releasing the need to know where you're going, of what life will look like in five minutes, tomorrow, next year. It shoos your mind out of the way (go play somewhere else, Mommy’s busy) until you can rest in the quiet space between what you think, and what is.

Luckily, even though Fritz was busy, Santa had some spare time. On Christmas morning the stool was there under the casuarina pine tree (think Charlie Brown). Its blonde wood was streaked with highlights and flecked with wispy threads of darker pigment, like lace.

And so the salvaged plank of lacewood had come full circle. Part of it was used to repair a rudder: necessary for traveling in a particular direction. The rest was used to support meditation: allowing oneself to be present, directionless and exquisitely whole.

Now that’s what I call balance.

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