Meditation for Thursday 16th December 2021
This is our last on-line and meeting ‘live’ in the Malone Room for 2021. And what a year it has been! We’ll resume both on-line and ‘live’ in the Malone Room on Thursday 27th January 2022. A reminder that I will be leading a discussion on Zoom about the Paul Harris book, ‘Christian Meditation’ on Wednesday 16 February between 10.30am – 12 noon. Notwithstanding the title of the book people of all beliefs and none are welcome as meditation is a universal practice.
Should you or anyone you know be interested book via the website www.thecarmelitecentremelbourne.org
For those about to embark on holidays, I hope it’s a time of peaceful re-creation. In the meantime I wish you and your loved ones every blessing for a joyous Christmas. Peter
‘The Places That Scare You, a Guide to Fearlessness’ is a wonderful book by the Buddhist author, Pema Chödrön. (Pub: Harper-Collins, UK, 2001) There is a chapter in the book titled ‘The In-Between State’. It spoke to me as it might to you. Essentially the author states that our tendency in life is to seek solid ground maintaining that this inclination is deeply-rooted. She says that whatever we believe about reality has to be let go and that when we dwell on what we believe is reality can be an illusion. This is uncomfortable news for most of us.
I think Pema Chödrön is saying that we need to stop struggling against uncertainty and ambiguity and to that extent we dissolve our fear. I have often said that one of the fruits of meditation is that we gain control of our life. While I stand by that statement I also know that there is a sense of freedom when we accept that we’re not in control. This apparent contradiction is not ambiguous as nothing to hold onto is the root of happiness. I’m not being subversive in asking people to jettison their belief or faith but rather to allow wisdom to have an equal role alongside knowledge. Knowledge is about seeking answers whereas wisdom is about asking questions; about letting-go, about freedom. The author, Pema Chödrön calls this the ‘in-between state’. It’s the kind of place we usually try and avoid.
Although in meditation we clear our mind the consequences of our practice often lead us to see past and present issues that need a resolution in order for us to achieve peace in our lives. These issues are usually in-between issues that require of us to learn to contain the paradox of something’s being both right and wrong. Meditation helps us to stay with uneasiness and assists us not to solidify into a viewpoint. Meditation makes us comfortable at the crossroads, makes us realize that we are always in transition. Meditation helps us see that we evolve beyond what Pema calls ‘the little me’ who continually seeks zones of comfort.
This groundless state, this in-between state is achieved when we experience the clarity of the present moment. Living in the real presence brings us joy, a joy I hope all of us experience this Christmas.
And now let’s meditate…..
This is the last meditation session for 2021. We resume both on-line and in-person in the Malone Room at the Carmelite Centre on Thursday 27th January 2022.
I would like to thank Irene and Damien from the Carmelite Centre for their on-going support and wish each of you a very happy Christmas and holiday period.