Meditation for Thursday 10th February 2022
How often do we meet with someone but fail to pay proper attention to what they are saying? I know I am guilty of such action and I’m ashamed. How often have you spoken to someone and discovered that they have not heard a word you said? Parents talk about ‘selective hearing’ when it comes to giving children instructions. We fail to pay attention.
Attention, deep listening, deep connection is one of the essential teachings of all the great spiritual giants including the Dalai Lama who has written extensively about the necessity to pay attention at a personal, community and political level. He and others including Jesus, Gandhi and Bede Griffith show us that it is through attention that we acknowledge our relationship of interdependence.
The meditation teacher John Main has written, “If you want to understand what is involved in unity, relationship and interdependence, take a good look at one of your hands. You might be tempted to think of your hand just as four fingers and a thumb but if you look closely at it you will perceive it to be a miracle of beautifully coordinated interdependent relationships.” (‘The Way of Unknowing’, John Main. P66 Cross Road NY 1988)
Our practice of meditation assists us to ‘see’ inter-connectedness and therefore to honour our relationship with all people but also with all creation. It provides perspective when there are seemingly few answers.
The harsh realities of problems both personal and universal can be solved through love because love drives out fear and by connecting us ends isolation.
Contrary to what many people believe meditation does create community. It brings us together even to those who meditate alone and have limited opportunities of being with others. When we unite as a meditation community we are assisting not only our own well-being but the well-being of a fractured, divided world. The act of paying attention, the act of focusing attention during meditation is carried into our daily life and remains the heart of why we practice.
Now let us still the body, straighten the spine and sit erect and pay attention to the breath, mantra or mandala to give full attention, to empty the mind and to join with others in this act of love both to ourselves and to the world.
A reminder that the Carmelite Centre and Carmelite Library are hosting a book discussion about meditation next Wednesday 16th February, 10.30am – Midday on Zoom. I will be leading a discussion on the book ‘Christian Meditation’ by Paul Harris.
Although the book comes from a Christian ethos the principles about meditation are applicable to all traditions and none.
To book go to www.thecarmelitecentremelbourne.org
“We meditate together, the mountains and me
Until only the mountain remains.” (Chinese poet: Li Po.)