Mondays are my favorite. I know that Garfield and Starbucks-obsessed people want us to think they are the worst, but I love Monday because on Monday evening I go to a mediation group.
It’s not a fancy meditation group with chants or ancient readings, rather a group of people from all wakes of life who come together and simply sit in silence. It’s two hours of my week that I devote just to being still, the beautiful act of listening to my body in the moment.
Normally we sit for 20 minutes, then do a walking meditation for 10 and then another 10-minute sit, however, this week we replaced the walking portion with a guided meditation. The group leader read the above Rumi quote and asked us to think of a person that we have a conflict with and, while several faces came to mind, there was one relationship that I know needs healing.
I’ve written a lot lately about letting people go but sometimes that is not just possible. Some people we simple just can’t cut out completely because of their proximity to our job, living arrangement or family and we must find a way to continue moving forward with them.
So when I was thinking of people to practice this meditation on I chose someone that I can’t cut out of my life. In my head, we went out to the field together. We looked into each other’s faces and grabbed hands. I was asked to see this person as a human and nothing else.
Honestly, this was not easy. I immediately wanted to protest that this person had wronged me and that I was right. I wanted an apology. I wanted someone to take my side. But I knew I needed to dig deep and find light and peace as I stared this other person. There is no wrong or right, just two humans trying to live through an experience together.
After we finished our meditations for the evening, the group discussed a reading and some of the emotions that popped up. One person mentioned how he gets caught in planning his argument to a situation that hasn’t happened.
I do this. All. The. Time.
I once stayed awake an entire evening while planning retorts to an argument over Lena Dunham. I am constantly thinking of things to reply to when people slight me. I imagine myself being hit with arrows before any have been drawn.
I have lots of imaginary arguments with the person I chose for tonight’s meditation. I plan exactly what I am going to say and the examples I will throw out. Funny enough, this person and I have never actually had argument. We’ve never gone out guns a blazin’.
Still, this person makes me feel like I don’t matter. This person rarely thinks about how decisions will impact me and that makes me feel worse than if I was just insulted.
Yet, this person is a human and trying to do the best this person can, just like the rest of us. This person’s actions are not about me and the seemingly lack of consideration is also not about me.
Sometimes I need to stop and remember that, no matter how irritated, frustrated and hurt I feel. There is a big difference between the facts and the story I tell myself and sometimes we need to put ourselves out into a field where nothing matters other than the two sets of expanding and collapsing lungs.
I walked out of meditation smiling and rejoicing. Although the guided meditation and trying to remove my judgement and ego from the situation was excruciatingly painful, it was a good practice and lifted a bit of tension that I have for the person.
Then I turned on my phone. A message from that person. The same lack of consideration.
I was seething all the way home as my light airy attitude hardened into anger and exhaustion. In an instant the peace I felt for this person was gone.
It would have been easy to get mad at myself for falling back into that pattern of wasted energy and joy, but I have to remember that I am human as well. We feel slighted and wronged but then we have to work our way out of it. We have to practice going back to the field over and over again and know that it is a practice.
Once I calmed down a bit, I saw that the person was actually showing me consideration and kindness in this particular situation, but I was just so used to taking residence in the being-wronged camp. This person was actually in the field and inviting me to come along. It won’t always be this easy, or this quick to get past the frustration, but I owe it to this person and more to myself to go to the field, to find that peace, in that person and in my self.