I did it. My goal was to meditate and pray every day for seven days, and I succeeded. Wahoo for me! This turned out to be far easier than I had expected because once I made the commitment, I discovered that I was hungry for spiritual practice. What had previously seemed impossible to wedge into my daily schedule suddenly seemed easy.
So, I finished my week. Now what? I find that I want to do more, but what I have in mind is far, far scarier than the tiny commitment I made before. Of course, the question remains as to why I — a raging secularist — am driven to meditate, and even worse, to pray.
In my week of practice, I found that my mind was clearer and my sense of possibility more open. In other ways, I had a tough week. Lots of high-pressure work, and three times last week I lost my temper and spouted off to people. I’d love to provide details, but these are private moments that involve others, and even in the age of Too Much Information, I feel a responsibility to keep some things private.
I hate it when I get angry and take my temper out on others. I feel awful for hours, and I’m often baffled as to what makes me blow. (My temper goes off with a whoosh as if someone had touched a match to a pool of gasoline.)
Meditation helped. As I sat and focused on what Zen teachers call a great question,* the feelings underneath the anger bubbled up. I began to understand what was touching off at least some of my fury. (In one case, my anger stood on a bedrock of fear.) Understanding led me to apologize, which led to an email exchange that led to deeper understanding and far less fear for me. Meanwhile, prayer continues to help me set my intention for each day.
Those are the logical explanations, but on a deeper level, daily meditation and prayer simply feel right, particularly in a quest for goodness. And so <gulp>, I’m now making a much bigger commitment. I hereby commit to practicing meditation and prayer every day for the rest of my quest. That means I’ll be doing this for the next nine months and one week.
This seems like a huge commitment, far too large for me to fulfill and somewhat scary in a way I don’t quite understand. Fool that I am, I’m going to give it a try anyway.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
*I’m currently meditating on the great question of What am I? As I inhale, I silently ask myself: “What am I?” As I exhale, I respond: “Don’t know.” I love the way this short circuits all of my assumptions.