Did you ever have some expectations for a day or an experience that simply just didn’t pan out?
I am writing this on the morning of a holiday in the United States. Today is Memorial Day. Yesterday evening, after working hard in the garden, I was very tired. It was only around 9:45pm when I decided to go to bed. The thought of going to bed early and waking up early on this holiday morning was very appealing to me. I looked forward to an extended time in meditation in my backyard and assumed that I would have this wonderful, peaceful experience – especially after a good night’s rest.
Well my prayer and meditation time was anything but peaceful! In the midst of this great morning of sunshine and birds singing, flowers and beauty all around me, my mind was like a car rushing here and there in the midst of rush hour traffic! My immediate reaction was to bolt. Just get up and leave! I was then reminded of spiritual “practice.” It’s called “practice” for a reason.
In order to get good at something we have to practice. Meditation is about getting good at becoming conscious of the quiet and eternal as we walk through our busy days. It is about getting good at experiencing that peaceful place even in the midst of chatter of the mind and the drama of life circumstances. Even though I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of this exercise, my challenge was to stay with it. The more I fought this poor experience of meditation, the worse it got. Also, once I was able to simply accept that this was one of those times I was not feeling connected, I was more easily able to stay with it.
Practice is needed in the spiritual life. Practice is needed in good relating and good loving. Practice is needed in the making of a good relationship. It just doesn’t happen. We have to work at it – even when we don’t want to! AND we’re not always going to feel connected, whether it be in our prayer, with our Partner, a friend or Life itself. Our natural reaction is to bolt when we’re not feeling something, when it’s not freely flowing. Our challenge is those times is to stick with it. Although the farmer is not aware of the seed germinating in the ground, they still work at it because they know their work will bear fruit – even though they can’t see immediate results. Stick with it!