BEST - Last night, well it probably really started with my reading yesterday afternoon: “The wounds of the past are healed- those deep wounds that have lived for centuries in the unconscious. The healing power of prayer has to be experienced to be understood.” The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion, William Johnston. Johnston goes on to explain how those of different faiths can connect in prayer, ”However, even is common prayer of intercession is impossible, Christians and Buddhists can still have a religious experience in common. For example, we can sit together in silent and wordless meditation. And in such a situation we can feel not only the silence in our hearts but the silence of the whole group. Sometimes such silence will be almost palpable and it can unite people more deeply than any words.”
I have experienced this uniting in Quaker worship; the meeting each other in that which is Eternal. I have not yet experienced that reality in my meditation practice at Raja Yoga, but I am experiencing something more than individuals sitting in silence.
I started meditating at Raja Yoga because I wanted to be a part of my communities fabric of worship and I wasn’t sure how to do that. The studies that have shown meditation impacts the surrounding community for peace were intriguing also. And the known results of meditation on auto-immune diseases and living with chronic pain are compelling; I would be a fool to ignore that avenue of healing.
But last night was a gift of a different sort. The words of Johnston I read in the afternoon confirmed what my heart and Spirit had known to be true. I went to yoga and then meditation with a deep peace and certitude that I was following the Risen Christ by participating. That Presence would be with me and thru me to others. And I have seen this pattern a lot lately in my life, first the calling, then the confirmation. First the inner knowing of where I am meant to be, what I am meant to be living, then the confirmation of others’ words.
So, again, after yoga practice and as we gathered for meditation, Wes read a bit about the practice, then he invited us into a guided meditation. Now, I am not one who is easily led in meditation. If somebody calls us to focus on a flame that is starting at our head and going down to the floor, my flame is starting in my feet and rising through my body. My inner resistance to another dictating my journey is huge. But last night, Wes spoke of imagining a place in nature that we love, a safe place, looking around it, smelling the smell, feeling the texture of the fauna, listening to the sounds that are a part of the habitat. Usually, when he starts this way, I just center down and don’t even try to go there. This time, though, I could envision my garden at Sojourn, the garden that exists no more, the garden I co-created with the Holy Spirit after my thyroid cancer surgery as I recovered, digging rocks out of the soil, digging in manures, growing green manures, and finally planting the flowers and veggies and herbs in restored fecund worm-filled soil.
He invited us to make a meditation seat in this place of nature, and I thought, “there is no place on the ground, I will make the seat in the air.” And that fits with what I have learned about myself these last few years of coming out of the time of enwombment. Worshipping in the air, with no grounding, is easy for me. And it is less then ideal. To do the work of presence I am called to, I need to be in that place of between heaven and earth. Fully tied to both, and living in the cross in that spaciousness, both exterior and interior. So I choose to make a seat on there fertile ground, with the sweet wild ginger and the ferns and columbines and heuchera Coral Bells near by. And as I sat there, I realized - my garden, this co-creation is not gone, I carry it inside. This place of great effort with a lot of pain, and rest with a lot of beauty, this place that wooed me to start to grow my roots and ground into the earth, that called me to be more than all air and Mystery, this place that began the balancing of Mystic, Poet and Earth did its work. And it still exists in my interior spaciousness that holds the space between Earth and Heaven.
The rest of the meditation was the Jesus Prayer, and Kairos. Until the bell rang, and I struggled to come back up, disbelief and sadness that our time Together was over.