“There will be no meditation in your life unless you put it there.”
For one who came late to the practice of meditation – and who is still woefully inconsistent about it – I understand that statement. I believe in its truth: “There will be no meditation in your life unless you put it there.”
It’s odd that I don’t remember where I read that or who wrote it, because it has definitely stopped to stay awhile in my head. It has walked around up there quite a bit lately. And then it began to move some of the furniture around.
In the attic of my thoughts and beliefs, this particular way of looking at life started rearranging things … like the old vintage footstool where I’ve rested my feet after walking around in the world until I’m absolutely worn out … or like the chest of drawers where I’ve stored my truths and beliefs and customized conclusions for so long they have dust bunnies … and like the shelves where my pictures of reality sit in neat, carefully aligned, albeit crusty, rows. This one idea sort of kicked them all askew. And I began to stub my toes on them.
To be honest, it wasn’t that phrase itself so much as what happened when I looked at it the other way around – changing it from: “There will be no meditation in your life unless you put it there;” to: “There will be meditation in your life, if you put it there.”
I liked that slight shift in meaning … that subtle slip in its reality and perspective. And from there the idea began to take hold of other states of being, like: “There will be joy in your life, if you put it there.” And “there will be kindness in your life, if you put it there.” And “there will be compassion in your life, if you put it there.”
I looked for other things that were obvious – stacked up, if you will, right there in the corners of my mind’s attic and hanging from the rafters – and I found this trick of phrase worked well with such things as: joy and hope and generosity, integrity and understanding, faith and forgiveness, mercy and acceptance, humility and patience, happiness and beauty. All would be in my life … if I put them there. (Even the idea that “there will always be dogs and cats in my life, if I put them there” fit in nicely.)
But then some other things began to crawl out of the shadows and from under the rugs of that mind-room where they were being stored – and they were also true and evident and undeniable: “There will be fear in your life, if you put it there.” “There will be ugliness in your life, if you put it there.” “There will be anger in your life … and hate … and loneliness … and jealousy … and isolation … and indecency … if you put it there.”
I suspect a great deal of ourselves and our memories, our experiences and expectations, do get stored away in the hidden places of our hearts and minds – in metaphorical scrapbooks and locked-tight suitcases. And it’s up to us to decide what we keep fresh and useful and living today; and what gets forgotten, left to fade in the dark or dry up with time. And, sometimes, a new idea – or an old idea simply seen in a mirror-image – helps us shift it all around and move it from there to here.
“There will be no meditation in your life unless you put it there.” “There will be meditation in your life, if you put it there.” A change in reflection that makes all the difference.
As for me, I want to hold more pure hope and blind kindness in my life … to seek more beauty and greater peace. And, for me, there will have to be all manner of dogs and cats, and perhaps a small flower or two. And there must be friendships to share in it. And proper meditation to appreciate every bit of it.
And now I suspect it is simply up to me to put it there.