(This is one of those blog posts that’s much more personal and not so instructional. I’m never sure it really belongs here in the blog but for the moment… it’s here. )
I lead meditation groups in my community. I see meditation as a powerful tool in learning how to reduce stress and live our best life. I organize these groups in hopes of reaching people who might not have had the chance to explore meditation and as a place for meditators to share energy and experience. The attendance is variable, lower in the summer when there’s so much fun, light, freedom and play going on. I never worry about attendance, seeing leading these groups as part of my job as a teacher. Generally, we have between 4 and 20 but sometimes as low as one.
Until today. Today no one came.
First, I will give my honest reaction… it was a bit happy, like a kid whose math class got canceled and instead he gets to go play on the playground. I figured I could leave and get a head start on my afternoon’s projects.
But… first I would sit for a bit.
Let me set the stage for those of you who haven’t joined me for Sunday group in downtown Canton. We meet at 6thStreet Yoga, located in an old house right downtown. It’s a different sort of space for yoga but imbued with lovely energy from all the teachers and their classes filling those walls with light and love.
The walls also serve as a gallery for my paintings. Dear friends own 6thStreet and suggested that I could display my art (okay, I asked if I could) on the walls. I don’t rotate the work often and but did hang a new show about a month ago. So today, I am greeted with one of my most recent paintings.
The painting is called Magnificence and is the first in a series of paintings by the same name. In this series, my intention is to show people in all their power and beauty while suggesting that power and beauty have nothing to do with physical standards or material goods. Rather my hope is to show the energy and love that is our true power and beauty, always has been and always will be our true selves.
That description might sound a bit grandiose. My ideas for creative expression don’t come from a logical, conscious place. Ideas just pop into my head, often first thing in the morning and I regularly say, “Where did that come from” and then I sketch and begin work as the schedule allows. This series has been in the works over 5 years.
This particular piece was not my favorite. When I first finished it, I planned to paint over it the next day. Then the next day came and I worked a bit more on it. I needed the piece to meet a deadline for a competition so I let it “live.” It has made me a bit uncomfortable… and until today, I suggested to myself that my discomfort comes from the painting not being quite right, while never really defining what might need to be different.
So we’re back at 6thStreet and I have no meditation group. I do sit down and crank the music up a bit. Instead of closing my eyes as I normally would, I gazed at the painting. In a very short amount of time, I teared up. Meditation is more experiential for me so I didn’t analyze the cause of the tears. I just continued to sit and soak in the painting. In time, a feeling of freedom and expression began to fill me. I could feel the joy and openness that the subject of the work was expressing and again, I cried just from the beauty. Beauty not only in what I was seeing, but what I was feeling.
I shifted my position and changed the music to a lovely chant, Aad Guray and I sang loudly, freely and with great openness. I felt that the sounds and the beauty filled the room and penetrated the walls. I know that energy will be there as a gift to all who enter the room.
When the music stopped, I got up. I packed my gear, headed out, stopped at the grocery and am home. But before starting on the afternoon’s projects, I sat down to write so that I too might not forget the feeling of beauty and freedom that had opened my heart, mind and freed my voice.
Now I know why the painting made me uncomfortable. It was trying to teach me something and I wouldn’t take the time to really open up to its message.
We all have it all… all the love, the wisdom, the joy. All the gifts we could wish for and imagine are housed right inside. Take a few moments to sit down with yourself. Some days it’s interesting and on other rare days like I had today, it can bring tears of joy.