Over The Last Several Weeks We ...
Posted by Anita Balasubramanian on Mar 29, 2013
For several months after attending a meditation retreat, I continued my daily practice as often as I could. However, other things slowly took priority over this practice. My mother’s health, work, motherhood, my health, brother’s wedding, other family responsibilities and so on. And yet, I kept remembering the essence of this retreat, the impression it left on me, and wanted to get back to the centeredness that I felt then and would feel whenever I could practice. I felt the need to nurture my inner self, and the inner silence.
As a mother I often experienced the difference between responding to my child from a space of silence, stillness, and centeredness instead of frustration, agitation, and anxiety. Some time in 2011, a friend sent me a talk by Cheri Maples, who talked about how we need to work at three levels – inner, inter-, and collective – all from a space of silence, stillness, and compassion for any meaningful non-violent change. And having journeyed through the landscape of activism for many years, I felt that learning to respond from a still space within us was indeed one thing (and perhaps the only thing) that we could all learn to do, so that the change began with us.
And so, I would often dream about hosting a gathering where people would come, sit in silence, and connect with their inner selves. And that this stillness would ripple into their daily life, and work. Indeed, when we nurture our inner selves, our outer work and interactions cannot remain untouched.
Finally this intent manifested as weekly Friday meditation circle at our house from February 2013. There is no other agenda except sitting and sharing. Just in the last few weeks, I have noticed many small things that have shifted within myself, as a repercussion of hosting these gatherings every week. I have also heard from others who attend these sessions. One friend said, “These days the way I evaluate if a meeting went well or not is by noticing how centered I was during that meeting.” Another friend shared, “Just sitting has done great things. On those days something special is happening to me as I hit the bed at night. Sleep is deep. Those nights are quite peaceful than other nights. I am more composed and could choose things wisely in those evenings.”
At my end, Fridays have become the day that I look forward to every week. The first couple of weeks of the gathering, I found myself being anxious about how many people would come, how many who said they would come would not come, how much should I cook, what to read, and so on. Mundane stuff. And then one day I realized that each Friday unfolds itself in a unique way and brings forth it’s own wisdom. :)
Like the first Friday, one of the people who attended spoke from his heart about trusting as a way to practice fearlessness. And then the next Friday next one when there were only two of us, and we gave away all the extra food to the construction workers next door. And the next one when I was sick and did not have a reading ready, and so in a moment of inspiration during the meditation, I decided we would listen to Cheri Maples – and everyone felt touched. And the next time, when we sat in silence and held in our thoughts a friend’s family as they were journeying through a difficult time. I now flow along with Fridays, listening to the lessons that are in store for me that day, trusting and growing with the space, the people there, and the wisdom of the space and moment.
These gatherings create space within me and help me connect with the subtlest of the five elements that we are made of, that we seldom connect with. I still have to make decisions about mundane things, but they do not come from a place of anxiety. I feel a sense of sacredness towards Friday’s and now I notice this feeling spilling over to every day of the week J
This feeling of sacredness is captured by a few lines from a recent blogpost by Nipun: “a spirit of renunciation for outcomes of our action, gratitude for long lineages of causes that manifested this moment, and humility in surrendering to all that may occur.”
Every Friday now deepens my practice of renunciation, gratitude and humility. Three steps and a bow.