I recently listened to Pema Chadron on the subject of mindfulness meditation. I recommend her. She says people often think that meditation is about ‘feeling peaceful’. You sit down, you begin to meditate and peacefulness descends on you. Like a stormy sea which becomes as still as a mill pond…

Mmm… yes…. As you start to meditate, the stormy sea does begin to calm and then become still. But then the water becomes clear, so clear that you can see all the old tyres, the dead bodies, the plastic bags full of stuff you threw in there years ago.

Her point is that the work of peace begins when you agree to look through the clear water and face what is there, not what you want to be there.

simple, eh? 🙂

This story of calming the storm and yet not ‘feeling’ peaceful is in the New Testament in Mark chapter 4 from verse 35. Jesus is in a boat with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. A storm blows up but Jesus remains fast asleep in the back of the boat. It gets so bad the disciples wake him up shouting ‘Don’t you care if we die?’. So Jesus stands up and commands the winds and waves to be still. And there is a great calm. Are the disciples happy now? No. They’re terrified, saying to each other: “Who is this man? Even the wind and waves obey him.”

The Poem below I found in ‘Making Peace’ by Denise Levertov.

Bet said:
There was a dream I dreamed always,
Over and over,

A tunnel
And I in it, distraught

And great dogs blocking
Each end of it

And I thought I must
Always go on
Dreaming that dream,
Trapped there,

But Mrs Simon listened
And said

Why don’t you sit down
In the middle of the tunnel

Imagine yourself
Quiet and intense sitting there,
Not running from blocked
Exit to blocked exit.

Make a place for yourself
In the darkness
And wait there. Be there.

The dogs
will not go away.
They must be transformed.

Dream it that way.

Your being, a fiery stillness
Is needed to TRANSFORM
The dogs.

And Bet said to me:
Get down into your well,

It’s your well

Go deep into it

Into your own depth, as into a poem.

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