In The Mean Time, And, Of Course, These Are Mean Times

I can’t wait till I can find a quiet place to sit and meditate

No, I mean, I literally can’t wait. I don’t have the patience.

I need a meditation I can jump on any time I manage to be close enough to hitch a ride. My world is spinning so fast; guilt that I can’t (or won’t) slow it down just makes it all the more painful.

So this morning, I put the tubs of saved fabric and future projects back into the closet and made my bed. I prayed and sang a mantra: “Here I am, Lord. Speak for your servant is listening”

My room was atrocious. There were art projects and trash and laundry, clean and dirty, all over the place. It was a crash pad, and that is what I did there: crash, and then, only when absolutely forced there by exhaustion.

As I swept bits of wire out of the far side of the bed where I was wire wrapping stones in the middle of non-time and I thought: Ah Ha! I see the trap now.

All these years I have been trying so hard to have a regular and constant meditation practice that I’ve neglected the wealth of the present moment passing by and by and by all around and within me. I’ve been trying to

manage time,

to arrange it according to an arbitrary schedule.

I wonder what would happen if I sink deeper into the flow and rhythm of natural time itself.

What is “natural time?”

It is the time that passes by when you don’t notice it happening– like when you see a child who has become an adult ‘overnight’ or you realize your time with a friend has ‘flown by’ -in ‘no time at all.’

Natural time is the time you don’t have to make time for. In fact, you can’t wait to spend time doing it, whatever IT is..

I think I have been misunderstanding time and the meaning and purpose of it in the first place.

I was always taught that if I work hard for some goal, I will attain the prize, maybe. Maybe not. Either way, hard work was the key to happiness, and hard work meant hard time.

In other words, in order to win any prize worth having, I’d have to word hard for a long time; things freely given were not valuable.

I was taught that in order to advance my spiritual practice I’d need to have a regular and consistent practice. (Same dime, different vending machine.)

News break: Some of us find it extremely difficult to make anything happen in a regular and consistent manner. I tried a million times to get up at 4:00 am to meditate and pray. Yet, if I try to force it by setting an alarm, then the only thing I build up is resistance to waking up to the practice.

I am too old to keep waiting for the right time to jump in, like I did when I was a timid girl waiting for the jump ropes to swing just right before I made my move. I just realized I am already jumping. I just don’t recognize the rhythm. It seems to be going pretty fast and speeding up.

So I just start from where I am. I start singing chanting because that is the only thing I remember how to do.

Childhood jumprope chant:

Ice cream soda, Delaware Punch, who do you love for your honey bunch? A, B, C…

No that is not the one I need. Let’s see.

Om mani padme hum. Hmmm, I like that.

But I want more.

I pull a dozen mantras out of my bag; none of them fit exactly.

I try listening. There is nothing to hear.

So I simply get up. Grumble and moan. Make coffee and do what I can’t stand not doing anymore. I attend to the things calling for attention the loudest and I attend to them one by one.

There is a certain solidity in the drudgery that feels like comfort. The tubs full of future projects make a satisfying thud when they hit the closet floor and it is nice, for now, to shut the door on all of them.

I start separating the art projects from the trash, the clean laundry for the dirty.

Without intending to, I find myself (silently) singing the words Samuel spoke when he heard God calling:

Speak. Lord, for your servant is listening.

Suddenly I realize that I have been loving God and listening to the still small voice all this time while I waited for my busy mind to get ready to start a regular practice! Does that sound confusing and ridiculous? It is like saying ready, set…but never saying go, then realizing that you are already going at just the right speed anyway.

All that angst about preparing myself to practice was a distraction. My hunger and thirst for God takes me directly to the source and keeps me nearby 24/7, naturally. It is a trick and a trap to think that we have to be trained to know God or become enlightened. A deer who is thirsty will already know how to drink. She won’t have to train in a monastery for 40 years before she is able to purse her lips just so and suck the sweet water from the stream. We are already know how to be at peace, we just have to realize it. We don’t have to earn the love of Great Spirit who made us, who ‘knit us together in our mother’s womb’–we are already loved; we just have to know we are loved.

In the mean time, (and these are mean times, as my bother was fond of saying,) we just have to trudge through.

But oh, how happy I am to trudge like this when drudgery becomes such bliss and the ordinary moment is my most precious sacrament

2 thoughts on “In The Mean Time, And, Of Course, These Are Mean Times”

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