Today I received an interesting question from a reader. He asked, “I’m curious as to whether you practice any kind of formal or informal meditation?”
His question got me to thinking, because I don’t practice any formal system of meditation. But meditation and reflection are essential to my life. If I do not give myself over to them, I quickly lose my emotional and spiritual balance.
I thought I’d share my answer to him with the rest of you.
I practice no formal meditation. But I do a lot of quiet, shapeless prayer and focused attention; a lot of what I would call “guided musical meditation.”
At least eight hours of my waking day are spent alone, and since we live in the woods with no people or traffic to distract me, the time I devote to stillness is rewarded tenfold. To me, nature is a healing meditation if it is accepted and embraced rather than examined and analyzed.
One of my most valued spiritual teachers, Ohiyesa, said it best in his writings, The Soul of an Indian: “Whenever, in the course of our day, we might come upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful or sublime — the black thundercloud with the rainbow’s glowing arch above the mountain; a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge; a vast prairie tinged with the blood red of sunset — we pause for an instant in the attitude of worship.”
I do not have such natural drama before me, but the mindful attention to a family of trees or the movements of the winds and clouds can evoke the same sense of worshipful wonder and peace.
To be quite honest, I’m easily upset by the cruelties and inequities of the world, and have to do serious inner work to regain any sort of spiritual balance and serenity. It is my return to the sanctuary of silence and stillness that always heals me and keeps me whole.
I don’t know if this is the answer you were seeking. It is, however, a fair assessment of how, at my best, I try to bring a form of meditation into my life.
Thanks so much for writing,