Gaining by letting go
Last week I spoke at a 12-step meeting that included meditation. I met several men who, for the most part, were not regular meditators. They sat for the required 20 minute period, and I have no idea what they were experiencing, but according to their shares afterward, it was not pleasant for them. Most of these men related experiencing a mounting anger and anxiousness, but they were committed to the idea of “meditating,” so they decided to sit there and tough it out.
When we are at the mercy of ego identification, we are terrified of learning an actual meditation practice. Learning something new might require that the ego cede control. For the ego, this is unacceptable, so it searches for reasons to reject any help. It's a torturous Catch-22 scenario. A person is miserable as they are, but they have an infinite number of reasons why they can't change.
When one resolves to ignore the “reasons” and accept help, real progress can begin. I can't tell you at what point I overcame my own reluctance and moved forward into meditation, but it taught me a valuable lesson about acceptance and surrender.
Acceptance of the world on its own terms was necessary. I had to let go of the habit of imagining things because of a childish idea of myself and the world around me.
Surrender was simply a letting go of the requirement to have control. What was happening? Don't know, don't care. What could I do about it? Probably nothing. I tried staying out of the effort to control, and the universe did not end, the ground didn't swallow me up, no lightning bolt from the heavens struck me.
What did happen was subtle. I gradually became aware that I was more than just my thoughts and feelings, much more than the endless stream of chatter and commentary coming from a fear-based source inside my head.
I realized that I actually contained a vast, healing silence. In this silence I found much needed rest. In this rest was the peace I had been searching for.
I let go and gained everything.
We are not proselytizers. We do not need to sell or convince anyone of the merits of our practice. We can share our experience with the interested, but if they argue or resist, we back off, always with love and good humor. Their own inner guide will direct them, if need be, in our direction.