a while back, like nineteen years back, several months into my stay in the ashram, i had this encounter with a swami. this memory hasn't surfaced for this long until now when i am reflecting on the impact of a regular meditation practice on the arc of life, rather than being tunnel-vision, nitpicking the day-to-day meditation experiences. so, back to the encounter. this swami is not into small talk. really, really, not into it. we are walking on a path through the sprawling woods on the ashram grounds, in opposite directions. i don't't expect him to say anything to me at all. so i am surprised when he says, suk wah. my mind goes blank. his eye stays on me, and says, how are you doing? by knee jerk reaction i blurt out, fine. i am all but fine inside. i cannot sit still on the meditation mat for more than a minute. the mind is constantly churning out thoughts, feelings and reactions that are judgmental, anxious, angry, sad, blah blah blah. and they all feel important to me. they are so real. i am so frustrated that meditation can't make them go away. recently i see this horrific image of innumerable cargo containers chaotically piling on top of each other after the tsunami in japan. that's sort of how chaotic and out of control my mind is at that point. those unyielding mental tsunami totally gut out my connection to my inner self. i want to ask the swami an intelligent and smart and thoughtful question to show him what an evolved yogi i am. but, oy, i can't think of a word. i am babbling on and on here. in the moment it lasts exactly that. a moment. no wonder the scripture says thought travels faster than the speed of light. anyway the swami pauses for a moment, and says to me, keep meditating. then he walks away. i remember now clearly my reaction to his words. i think to myself, no, you don't understand what i am going through.
nineteen years later. i realize he does know what i go through. that day on the path in the woods i am in a muddled state. the mind is going through a tsunami. i get swept up in the towering waves of dark thoughts, feelings and reactions. in the teachings of the buddha i take what's impermanent permanent. now i know all thoughts, feelings and reactions come. and go. without exceptions. unless i hold on to them. unless i feed into them. this is where my regular meditation practice take me across these turbulent waters. i gently return attention to the steady, rhythmic movement in the natural and easy breath while i notice and observe these mental waves. i don't treat one more important than the other. the differences in contents don't matter. what matters is my attention go underneath the contents and stay with the power of the throb that is obviously driving these mental waves.
yes, the swami understands me. he knows i have what it takes to keep meditating. he knows in time i will come to see what i need to see if i keep meditating. thank you, swamiji.