I was walking to the parking lot, but I couldn’t find my keys.
This happens often but still it stirs fear and desperation. I feel trapped, as if it were I myself who was lost. Shipwrecked. I was playing that game of trying to peek inside the car, then emptying my purse, then patting down each one of my pockets.
A friend who was there tried to help by naively inquiring: “Where do you usually put your keys? When was the last time you saw them?” On and on, up to the useless, “What do they look like?”
They look like keys.
She kept asking questions until I lashed out at her. It was unfair and ugly. I told her in a thundering tone to please stop asking questions (except that I didn’t say please and worded it differently).
Wisely, she decided to leave me alone.
As she started to walk away, she turned around to say, “You should do more yoga.“
I had to laugh—I’m practicing more than I ever have before. Sailing through my days I feel more stable. I sit in meditation aligned with the stillness of my silence, anchored. But still, some situations wreck me. And they don’t have to be life threatening or excessively difficult.
I don’t know if I could make more time to practice. What I know for sure is that it wouldn’t be enough—there isn’t enough yoga to eradicate my moments of despair. At least as long as I have to battle my way in city traffic.
Tension builds up.
The parking lot spirals down the realm of chaos.
I’ve been reading Abdi Assadi who teaches that to meditate instead of sitting with this idea of luminous peace, you need to dig deep into your anxiety. The only way to quiet the screaming fears in your mind is to give them a chance and listen. To delve deeply into the waters of your darkest side.
We shouldn’t use our spiritual practice to escape the daily desperation, to ignore the storms of self questioning and loud doubts. By accepting and listening we can go all the way down through our muddy ideas until we find firm ground. When we acknowledge them, they stop making noise.
Only when inner turmoil starts quieting down are we able to find our silence.
We become grounded in our own silence, and find the bigger silence inside ourselves.
After my friend left, and free of the incessant questions that I had no answer for, I stand alone in silent inquiry. I realize I’m wearing hiking pants, they have an extra pocket farther down and my keys are right there.
I’ve had them with me all the time.
Moments of clarity, the fruits of meditation feel like this. Familiar. Close. There’s a particular way in which deep understanding brightens you up when you come into realization, But you also feel that you already knew that. As if you have just been reminded of something that you have always known.
This light, this sense of peace, has been in your pocket the whole time.
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Assistant Ed: Linda Jockers/Ed: Bryonie Wise