We had the most amazing storm a few days ago. I love thunderstorms; they are so dramatic and fascinating and majestic--that is, if I am watching the whole thing from my safe little house. Being out in the storm, however, would be a different story entirely. Blinding rain, getting drenched to the bone and possibly hit by lightening? Nope, not my idea of a good time. It just feels so divinely cozy to sit in my house and watch the world get so crazy and wet outside.
But as I was watching this fabulous storm it occured to me that what goes on in our minds every day is very often storm-like. Think about it. Our thoughts dart about like lightening bolts, hitting sensitive spots, causing emotional damage sometimes; there is a rain-like deluge of thoughts every waking moment. Storms are products of the environment. Our thoughts are also products of our own personal environment, our history, what Aunt Edna told us when we were five which imprinted itself even though we no longer remember the conversation on a conscious level. What if all those constant thoughts were not really coming from your true self but from programming? There are clues to the unreliability of your own thoughts. If you are like me you have conflicting thoughts. I'm great! I stink! I am so talented. I'm such a failure! Life is great. Life sucks. I'm good. I'm bad. You get the drift. The mutual exclusivity of these thoughts is your first clue that they are unreliable at best. All the more imperative, then, to find a place within our minds where we are safe. Ah, yes, I know-- easier said than done.
I have maintained a meditation practice now for almost 20 years . In times of turmoil, pain and confusion it has always helped me get through. As an everyday practice, it enhances life remarkably. There is a joy, an acceptance, a calmness it induces that nothing else, in my experience, can. There is a safe place within our minds; I have been there (and back here to tell the tale!). That place is recognizable by its lack of thought, by its wisdom, peace, grace and love-- palpable, yet wordless. Even though meditating feels rather strange at first, it does eventually start to become second nature, what you turn to regularly for guidance and support-- your safe harbor from the storm which enables you to watch what goes on in your mind with detached fascination and amusement rather than identifying with it too closely.