The bum had said it simply, without expression.
Living with the Dalai Lama, surrounded by monks at Namgyal Monastery, and constantly encountering the most revered meditation masters in Tibetan Buddhism, one would assume that among my many admirable qualities I am an accomplished meditator.
Alas, dear reader, I am not! I may be gorgeous beyond words, with my mesmerizing blue eyes, charcoal face, and sumptuous cream coat. I may be a global celebrity whose well-being is a subject of frequent inquiry by luminaries as diverse as the occupants of the Oval Office, Buckingham Palace, and the more rarefied enclaves of the Hollywood Hills.
But a natural meditator?
I have tried, on several occasions. But no sooner have I settled my mind on the sensation of my breath than I find myself thinking about Mrs. Or the discomfort in my hind legs. Or, somehow, both of those subjects mixed up at the same time. We give little outward show of this.
But how many of your own thoughts are visible? And if they were, would you have any friends left, pray tell?! If you ever doubted that your feline companion has her own inner life, just watch what happens when she falls asleep and loses conscious control of her physical being.
Inevitably you will notice a twitching of limbs, a quivering of the jaw, sometimes perhaps a snuffling noise or a meow. What are these, if not the involuntary accompaniment to the imagined drama playing out in her mind? Cats may indeed be capable of great mindfulness. But we are thinking beings, too.
In my own case, unfortunately, a being who thinks rather too much.
Maybe next year, when the Namgyal monks went on retreat. That would be a good time to make a concerted effort. Or perhaps during the dark winter months when most beings feel a natural inclination to withdraw from the world, to go inward.
There seemed to be plenty of ideal occasions to restart my meditation practice. Just none of them happened to be today. I, dear reader, have until recently considered myself one of them. But something happened to change me.
And I have come to discover that, for most meditators, the same is true. Some event, some trigger, propels you in a direction you may have been contemplating, but to which you were never fully committed.
Very few people are born meditators.
Others learn to become great meditators. Most of us, however, have meditation thrust upon us. The reason I share it is because I feel it may be one you can relate to. You may even see a teensy-weensy bit of yourself in me—how lovely for you!
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