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Floods and Other Diversions

A few weeks ago an old pipe under our kitchen sink gave way and flooded our house overnight. In the morning, as I sleepily walked out to the kitchen to make coffee, I was jolted awake by the sensation that I was walking in marshlands. This is unusal, I thought. This is not good, I thought. Many days, service calls, insurance adjustor visits and trips to Home Depot later, we are still living in a warehouse atmosphere with concrete floors, furniture up on blocks and contract people busily working on a totally unexpected and unplanned redecorating project.

My morning meditation, as a result of all this, has become interesting. I can reach my place of " no thought" easily enough to begin with but soon after I am thinking that it would be nice to stain the bar a bit darker shade, wouldn't that look nice with the new wood floor? And some new pillows for the couch would certainly brighten up the living room. I just have to find a new print for the dining room wall because the old one just will not do at all and, besides, I am tired of it. It has been there, what, fifteen years? Twenty? I hope the workers show up on time this morning. I am anxious to get all this work done. I am tired of living in a warehouse with the quiet and comfort of my home sweet home disrupted daily. How am I supposed to find my calm center and meditate with all this going on, for heaven's sake? Oh, wait, I am meditating right now. I am not supposed to be thinking. With this remembering, I return to my thought-free oasis until the next imperative decorating thought comes up. Repeatedly, I swing back and forth between Trendy Interior Decorating and Timeless Pure Awareness.

After twenty-some years of meditating, my ego can still butt in and pull me easily into its river of thoughts, especially during times of high stress. It occurred to me that the pure aware state of meditation is much like a bubble floating on a serene pond. A thought can come along and submerge it but as soon as awareness returns, the thought dissipates and the bubble returns naturally and effortlessly to the surface. At some times (especially times of stress) there is a higher than normal quantity of thoughts darting about in the mind making it more likely that some will intrude on times of meditation and reflection. Resisting them actively only makes them more insistent. Once I heard a meditation teacher say as soon as you realize you are lost in thought, you are no longer lost. These days, in my very busy noisy house, I am running my own little Lost and Found Department.

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