When meditation is a buffer…

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I’ve been slowly moving back to more practice after several weeks of being pretty sporadic about chanting, meditating, exercising, etc.  I realized without all that centering and balancing that I’m a little depressed.  No big deal and I suspect part of the clearing process I’m in, but it reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago about those lovely practices.

If you’re not careful to do them in a way that invites them to open you up and with awareness of any feelings that arise and then to do something to let go of them (by whatever practice or mindful means you choose), meditation and energy practices can create another layer that buries your issues even deeper.  A nice, calm, much-more-pleasant layer, but a layer nonetheless.

We talked about this in my Fischer-Hoffman group, where we used the concept of a diamond heart that is your true essence.  It winds up surrounded by a circle of the bad feelings and self-doubts and negative beliefs you hold.  Then around that layer you place the facade that you want the world to see.  Meditation can become a crutch that creates an illusion of serenity that really just adds serenity as a layer that makes the diamond heart even more buried.

I realized the truth of this around the same time, thanks to a horrible roommate situation.  Her behavior toward me, my belongings and my cats was outrageous.  For a long time, though, because I regularly practiced pranayama and meditated, I stayed very calm about it all.  Eventually I realized that the calm was masking fury — and a myriad of ways in which her behavior mimicked the way my toughest family member treated me.

It’s a very fine line.  And of course bringing yourself back to calm so you don’t say, throw your obnoxious roommate off the four-story balcony of your apartment (yes I did really, really want to…) is probably a good thing.  When I finally confronted her, I did it without yelling and negotiated the deal I wanted to get out of there and I’m sure all that meditating and breathing practice helped me do that.  But resolution arrived much later than it would have if I had been more tuned in to my emotional landscape instead of just feeling relieved at the aura of calm that surrounded me.

Had I not been digging deep at the time in the Fischer Hoffman work, I have a notion that that layer of serenity would have buried the real turmoil indefinitely. Later,  I met a lot of folks who followed various Buddhist and Indian teachers and gurus and I became adept at sensing the carefully constructed outer layer of serenity and the ignored turmoil underneath that many people had (by no means all).  As I talked with lots of them I realized that for many the calming nature of practices became a balm they craved; but they used it to hide from issues instead of to illuminate them and let them go.

I’m glad I’ve had this little reminder that I need to practice regularly but without using it to ignore feelings I’d prefer to avoid.

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16 thoughts on “When meditation is a buffer…

  1. Mmm, thinking cap back on…you have moved me. And just to top that off, I have just run into a Yoga teacher for the fifth time in 12 months (she lives 90 min away). Each time I visit this place, spirit times it to perfection, and I would be a bit silly if I did not take heed of the synchronicities. Between you (and thank you Leigh for your input from here), and this lady, I must have a little journey to partake in. I was supposed to be up there today to help a friend but wasn’t feeling very well so delayed it till tomorrow. If I know spirit, it is for another ‘contact’.
    Thanks Leigh for your lovely and enlightening posts for the year, look forward to many more. Have a great New Year, may it open your awareness within with love. Namaste

    • Hi Leigh, thank you for your lovely words and blessings! I have to laugh at this point, I became so engrossed in the synchronicities of those meetings that I forgot about what I was supposed to be doing (helping a friend!). Anyway, spirit came for a visit last night and stopped me dead in my tracks. I was beginning to focus on something that I need to let go of, as it needs more time to come to fruition, and under it’s own steam, not being interfered with by me. I think it’s called fate 🙂
      Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling terrible and pinched a nerve in my neck, very painful, so I was not able to go up there and help out my friend. I think my higher self needed me to understand the circumstances, and made sure, because of my desire to always help, that I wouldn’t unintentionally interfere with the path that is being created.
      And the feeling when I woke was one of being way too close to something that is a no go area. I have to admit spirit normally lets me know about a no go area by just blocking the ‘knowing’ that I get, but this time I needed to understand the importance of where this is going, and back away of my own accord.
      This is a very spiritual time and with the lovely assistance of the New Moon for me down here it is very strong. I feel that I may be moving into a new understanding. I feel like a kid in a toy shop, and I thought Christmas had been and gone 🙂
      I will let you know as things happen at this end. I suppose I am being taught one of the hardest things, and that is the letting go, focus on the now and just go with the flow.
      I do hope that your New Year was seen in with great blessings, love and light. I do feel this year is going to be very different…it’s like they finally will admit their is magic…and all will be changed overnight! Maybe a tipping point will be reached and this will usher in much needed change. I hope so! Namaste

  2. Hmmm. I feel the truth of what you write deep within me — yesterday, as I painted in the studio, I felt a ‘frenzy’ taking over me — I realized that while painting itself is meditative by nature for me, there is a masking that can also hide what is laying underneath the surface, unless I dig into what is there and not let the ‘calmness’ override the emotions — love the diamond heart concept.

  3. I agree with every word you’ve written Leigh. I also think there are actually many who use meditation as a balm rather than as a tool to uncover the truth no matter how painful it may be.
    Wishing you a warm, wonderful and blessed new year
    Alison

  4. “Meditation can become a crutch that creates an illusion of serenity that really just adds serenity as a layer that makes the diamond heart even more buried.” wow very interesting. in my own experience i’ve felt great relief at being completely authentic – even though it seems there are some endlessly grumpy moments, not forcing or pretending i feel different enables all those things to be fully felt, and moved through me much more quickly. that said – i could definitely benefit from a more disciplined yoga practice. thank you and all the best for this new year! aleya

    • That’s great that you’re able to be mindful enough to feel it and express it. I struggle a bit with that though I try not to let things be buried or ignored. I think a huge portion of the population is dedicated to being as numb to their feelings as possible, though, even some who meditate.

  5. “If you’re not doing it in a way that…” Exactly. During a Zen retreat a few years ago one of my teachers summarized this nicely: “Meditation is about inviting EVERYONE to the table, not practicing locking the door.” Ken

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