I love meditation. I love sitting on my cushion, lighting my candle, inviting the bell to sound, and bringing my attention to my in- and outbreath. And whenever a thought arises, labeling it as ‘thinking’. My meditation cushion is my sacred haven.
This morning I sit on my cushion again. I am so happy to have these 20 minutes to myself, to enjoy this open and loving space in which I can relax into my breath and let go of all my worries, anxieties, struggles, plans, and have-to’s. Just sitting and enjoying my breath.
“Now I understand why I felt so uncomfortable and disoriented at the retreat. That is my habitual fear of abandonment. It has nothing to do with the retreat, it has to do with an internalized pattern of fear. It is exactly the same experience I had when I was eight years old at girls scout camp.” It takes me a while, before I notice I am lost in my thoughts. I quickly label them as ‘thinking’ and bring my attention back to my breath. I relax and adjust my body as I breath in, and let go as I breath out. In, out. In, out.
“I remember how homesick I was, when my dad visited the camp. I just wanted him to take me home…” ‘Thinking!’ Bringing my attention back to my breath. In, out. In, out.
“I can talk to my empathy buddy about this. This is a rich topic to explore, and it would probably…” ‘Thinking.’
“What!? Who are you to interrupt this thought process? Who are you to tell me that I should go back to my breath and let go of my thoughts? Huh?! Who do you think you are to tell me to stop this super interesting line of thought?”
And finally it dawns on me. I am attached to my thoughts. They make up my identity. I don’t know whom I would be without my thoughts. Whom would I be in this wide open space of presence. It sounds too scary. Too little me. Too little of the well-known, carefully crafted person I’ve come to identify as Elly.
Thich Nhat Hanh talks about our historical and ultimate dimension. The ultimate dimension is the shore of liberation. It is the insight of interbeing, that we consist of self and non-self elements, that we all are waves and water.
I realize I am not so sure I want to be liberated. It sounds all yummy and good, and I realize I want to linger a little longer on the shore of the historical dimension. It is a well-known place that brings me comfort and security.
Let me just breathe into that attachment for now. Let me just breathe into my fear of letting go. In, out. In, out.
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