Light easily navigates the darkness

It’s fair to say I’ve only flirted with meditation. For a month or two, I sat in silence for 30 minutes every morning. I literally counted my breaths, from one to 10 and then back down from 10 to one. And if I lost track (as I did in the first week and the last week), I would start counting over, from one to 10, and so on.

What did I discover? Well, I realized that my mind was very busy. I also realized that I could indeed calm down. I gained a glimpse of a more balanced perspective. Part of me wants to go back to that routine. The other part of me wants to sleep longer or get to my coffee sooner.

Through my brief practise of sitting meditation, some things have stuck with me. Along with readings in Christian contemplation and Buddhist meditation, I have quietly developed a new way of seeing.

I feel as if a veil has been lifted and I can see more connections in the world. Specifically, I can see how close I am to everything.

I have come out from under the illusion of my separate-ness from others and into the light of seeing my inter-connectedness. I have come out from under the illusion of seeing this world as a way-station en route to an other-worldly heaven, and into seeing the fullness of reality breaking forth right here.

As I turn to the key story of my faith, I have come out from under the illusion that Jesus had nothing to say to the social and political power brokers of his world. I now see his main mission as undermining the structures of power and bringing a social and political liberation for the poor and marginalized.

I hear him still calling us to the same mission. Well, it’s not really a mission. It’s more like arriving a place of rest where anxieties for oneself can diminish and a genuine concern for others can emerge.

This is inner work, with no guarantees of outer change. In my case, in my forray into sitting meditation, I felt the benefits. I felt less anxious about my presence in the world, more “centred,” as they say. But I was still chippy with others, had unkind thoughts . . . oh my!

I still sit in silence (often in church on a Sunday morning) and allow my mind to become calm. It’s a process of emptying and resting in something outside of (or larger than) myself. In doing so, I am reconnected to the great Spirit, to the one who is Love. I easily see this in the faces of children, the commitment of friends, the tenacity of trees and the dependence of creatures. But I also see – or feel – this eternal Love as it hovers over hard hearts and bitter tongues.

Light easily navigates the darkness. The more I practice, or as Thomas Keating says, the more I “consent to”, the presence of Love and Light, the more inclined I am to navigate the corners of my life and despair in the world.

Aiden Enns is editor of Geez magazine; he lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He can be reached by email, editor@geezmagazine.org

Issue 22

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 22, Summer 2011, Contemplation: Inner work for outer change.

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Issue 22, Summer 2011

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