By James Eke
From Warrior’s Way Podcast #110
I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they can’t meditate because they get distracted or that they can’t meditate because they think too much. I have wanted to respond with a duh of course dummy you’re human. Of course I don’t but I would like to.
Here is a big secret. We all think too much. Sometimes we think the wrong things too much, sometimes we think the right things too little and most of the time we simply don’t realize we are thinking at all.
Meditation makes us see what is there. It is like holding up a mirror. Sometimes when we really look at ourselves we get judgy and don’t like what we see.
Mindfulness or meditation isn’t about being blissed-out and levitating or always feeling happy and at peace. The training is about really truly seeing and feeling what is going on – it is about getting to the heart of the matter and finding truth with a capital T.
I loved the article because it is talking about this capital T truth. I had my first shot of Moderna a little over a week ago and I can tell you that the only side effect with that first shot was relief and happiness. My brick and mortar martial arts school has been closed for seven months now due to COVID restrictions – tons of students have bailed, some students made of gold and everything good have stuck with me – it has been a real emotional and financial rollercoaster that nothing in this life has prepared me for. Well nothing except for my Zen training. Even with it though I have to tell you I have had days where I couldn’t see the light on the other side even if it was shining in my face.
Through this insane time it has been hard not to feel like you are stretched, rolled and wandering around blindly not knowing which way is up.
Just like our meditation though, we have to accept that sometimes when we sit we walk away thinking how great of a session that was, you were chilled out and feel happy – other times we find ourselves battling our own thoughts and emotions and doing everything we can to breathe and let them go.
I think COVID has been a great lesson for us all. One we will be learning for some time still I think, unless we live in our little bubble oblivious to the world of suffering around us.
COVID has taught us all that nothing is certain in this life.
It has taught us that mortality is what we have and it is fragile for everyone around us and for ourselves.
It has taught us that all the things that we cling to can be taken from us.
It has taught us that we must, truly must think about others first. We can’t act like we are somehow special snowflakes that matter most – do that and just like COVID, our actions, our stupidity can spread and harm others.
When life gives us a lesson about compassion, that everything is changing and always changes, about our connection with others – I would just hope that we all learn the lessons we have been given.
Life can be hard. We have all seen that. What makes our training so important is that when we train properly with all the important aspects embraced we can great events in life, challenges, or our own thoughts and emotions with compassion, with acceptance and with kindness. If we can do this for ourselves we can do it for others and the world around us.
When we embrace this path – this Way, real change happens. And when positive change happens within us it can ripple around us spreading outward – and when enough of us do this just imagine the ripples we can all make together changing this world and ourselves for better.
It all starts here though. With calmly watching the mind, watching the breath, letting go and spreading to yourself and all other living beings compassion, kindness and understanding.
This is what training means. This is what life is about.
It isn’t always going to be easy. But we are strong and we know Buddha was right – there is a path through all of this and walking that path is the most important thing.