Here is part of a letter received from a chap reflecting on his meditation practice. Published here with permission.
Today I have been thinking a lot about place and what it means to be away. These times away from home and family are interesting. They give me a space to reflect that I don’t get back home. I have started using them in a kind of semi-retreat way since I have few distractions and social commitments I can build a schedule of sitting twice a day around work – which I can never do when my son is around (not at all his fault of course). This return to a regular sitting practice and quiet time has led to several interesting things; firstly a great sense of gratitude that I still have it inside me to create a practice like this – after a period of several years where my sitting meditation practice at best has been very infrequent I have been wondering if this would be possible. It’s not only possible – it’s a joy and for that I am extremely grateful! What I mean by this is that when we go through a period away from regular practice due to life’s circumstances the lamp light of meditation does not go out; it remains always to be rediscovered again and again at any time. I guess this is not really a surprise but it is like seeing the return of the leaves to the trees in spring – we know they will be there but it’s always a pleasant surprise and joy when they bloom.
Now the next thing that comes from this is a finding of contentment. For instance, I had been thinking I would really miss my wife and son – especially missing any day of my sons growing up is always like a small loss. And I do miss them; moments of missing flit in and out of mind, but there is also contentment. Simply being content to be right here, where I am, where I stand. And, paradoxically, at the same time knowing that it is both acceptable and possible to feel that sense of longing within contentment. Does that make sense?
Today I was sitting doing some work in the office – I looked out through a sunny window with a view of green trees, freshly leafed, and a background of blue sky and for no special reason felt a sudden sense of serene compassion. How to describe this…a sort of ‘knowing’ that compassion is in the world, that all is exactly as it should be however often it may seem otherwise and wherever we are, that the universe is essentially compassion. It was a fleeting moment, glimpsed then departed – I had a spreadsheet to attend to, work to finish – but the sense still lingers on.