I worked over 70 hours last week while my children were in North Carolina for Camp Cousins. Everyone is back now, the book is at the printers and I was given yesterday and today off to recuperate, but I can’t seem to. I still feel exhausted and rather cranky. I haven’t done anything on my to-do-list except take Sophie for her before-school check-up and as that involved holding her down for 3 shots to the leg that wasn’t very motivating either. I feel oh so very blah. I’ve read 2 books on Christian mediation so far this summer and I have started a third that is broader in scope, more about meditation in general, and less aligned with any one religion. I am fascinated with the idea of being able to quiet the mind, of reaching a place where all you can feel is God and that He is Love, and the peace that the practice is told to bring. After years of meditation Easwaran says…
“I can tell my mind what to do… [and] it obeys. If a craving should arise for something my body does not need, I smile and say politely, “Please leave,” and it leaves. If something big tries to move in – say, an angry thought – I don’t bandy words; I say plainly, “Out!” It goes immediately. “
“If you begin to slide into a depression, you simply change your mind – you have learned how – and restore your equanimity and cheerfulness. You can now think what you want to think, and every relationship, everything you do, benefits enormously.”
I feel like I’m on the verge of discovering a way to greatly enhance my spiritual maturity or of sliding down a slippery slope of new-age self-help guru-craziness that will result in quite the opposite. Well, perhaps that a slightly over-dramatic way of putting it. I honestly don’t think that learning to quiet my mind is going to make my loose my Christian faith. However the tension between confessing Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and having respect for the wisdom of other world religions is very real for me. My mind tends to go in a liberal direction even as my lifestyle gets more and more conservative as the years go by.
(I read a fascinating passage in the book The Tipping Point either last night or this morning about heavy smokers and their personality traits. I think I could make a convincing argument that the “tipping point” in my change from the person I was in the mid to late 90’s to the person I am today was quitting smoking. If I ever get to the point where I can tell my mind what to do and it obeys I will have myself write an essay, or blog, or whatever about just that.)
Anyway, the essence of what I think I sat down to write about is that the idea of being able to actually tell my mind to let go of something and have it obey, to be able to decide that I am just not going to feel “blah” anymore and then get on with my day is absolutely captivating. It almost sounds like a supernatural power to me. I am worried that in seeking to explore how I might get to that point I could be distracted and “forsake my first love.” I need to remember that my focus should not be just learning to better manage my mind, but to do so in order to better love the Lord my God and my neighbors as well.
Ok, so I have just put on Lincoln Brewster’s “Love the Lord” and read the back on my book and noticed a quote from Henri Nouwen saying, “This book has helped me a great deal.” I feel much less blah already.