Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meditation, the Ego, and a Great Book

It has been a year of fabulous things coming my way, that seem to arrive in just the right order, and at just the right time. That's when I picked up the best seller book, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is a persoanl account of one womans decision to take control of her life, and the year of self discovery that ensues.

I loved it – not least because the book starts out at Elizabeth's divorce – and found plenty to be inspired by. But, there is one concept that has had a huge influence on my thoughts since, and that is when she speaks about the ego, the “I”.

Elizabeth goes to India for four months to practice meditation; yet even in this most perfect environment she struggles to still her mind. She is given the advise that the constant demand on her thoughts is her ego. That the ego ( the “I”) is always looking to hold power, but that its domination over us actuallly holds us back from becoming whole. Liz was directed to distract the ego with love, in the heart.

So the next time I meditated I tried this. When my ego came up with distratction I gently sent my “I” down to my heart, with love, to wait for me. All was calm and quiet.

It was almost a relief to stop the “I” thoughts. And so much of the chattering mind is in the “I” context. I want, I need, I must, I ought, I hate, I never, I can't I love, I think, I wish, I will, I wont. All pronounced with such force and urgency that it's easy to feel it must be listened to, that it is important. But the ego can be subdued, allowing the peace of just being to occur. The perfect state to meditate!

Please leave a comment if you have read the book, or have some ideas on Ego.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Measuring the Wreckage

I sometimes wonder why I haven't got further along the spiritual path than I have at the ripe age of 44. But if I look at the wreckage, the debri I have had to get through I guess it makes sense. And everyones wreckage is different by degree. I imagine a picture of Lara Croft walking away from a huge crashing building. Dust is still billowing up into the air, and rocks, and bricks are still crashing down. Lara Croft is calm, confident and cool leaving the wreckage behind. And that's what it feels like when I look back to where I have come from. Stepping away from the kaos and moving to a more secure place, feeling confident in the direction.

Everyones crash site is different, the childhood wreckage, relationships and/or marriages crashes and our mental/thought war guide. Some of these wreckages are just the size of toys crashing, others are the huge real sizes of bus, train, plane collisions. Or city sized catastrophies. We can't compare wreckages, they can't be measured against anothers. And we can't race anyone else to the other side. They are not better than me because they are enlightened. I am not better than anyone else because I have found some peace. We are all just beings trying to get to our meeting place on the other side of our own individual disaster zones. Picking up little gems of truth, small treasures of hope from other people's words, books, and our own moments of light. And hopefully, passing some of them on to others to be a light for them on their journey through the obstacle course that is the spiritual journey of life.