I have meditated for 25 years (off and on) since being plopped into a Buddhist temple for a brief period of time at a moment when Buddhism and meditation were as foreign to me as Mars. Currently I’m on a consistent roll with my daily practice. I am beginning to glimpse how providing space to observe the mind helps me make decisions and gain insights, even when the anchor of my meditation is always breath or another object, NOT thoughts.
One thing I notice is the self reflection that can be gained by evaluating and considering input from other people is similar to what can be gained by pulling back and observing mind. Let’s say you’re trying to make a decision. You poll friends for advice. You go to a counselor. You reflect on your options and consider all input.
I see how peer input can accelerate insight and personal growth. It’s like a house of mirrors. But the more I meditate, the more it seems possible to accelerate both insight and personal growth alone.
What I see is the mind contains all that input already. Call it consciousness or collective consciousness, but if you observe your own thoughts long enough without judgment of “bad” or “good”, it is possible to witness most if not the entire dance of possibilities and select one that feels right for you.
Something this week happened in meditation which has never happened to me before. In the past, I have observed emotions rise and fall like an airplane engine, but never this. I sat and felt calm. Tears started to roll down my face. But I was not actively crying. I was observing emotion without attachment to it. Freeing. Once out of meditation, I was able to reflect on the root of the emotion and knew what decision I had to make based on what arose.
Now that we live in an age when we can ask “how to stop crying,” Master Wiki-Something will tell us women on average cry 5 times per month, men 3. I fall under that average, which may indicate I’m not suffering depression and am pretty emotionally stable. But any emotion can be a teacher with meditation as a container.