It’s hard to adapt to life without a meditation room coming from three years of enjoying a space that was all mine, where I could close the door, and sit undisturbed. This past year I reclaimed my inner writer, and this manifested in part in my committing to this blog and posting every day. Having my own quiet space to sit and write was of immeasurable help in keeping my commitment. All I had to do was show up, and I had the perfect quiet space to sit and write in peace and solitude.
And now it is different. Now I sit and write at the dining room table, and already my mother and then my sister have shown up, puttering around getting their water for bed time. A part of me resists forced interaction. While I love them both, it is exceedingly difficult to maintain a steady stream of thought when it keeps being interrupted by people shuffling around, opening cabinets, turning on water, clearing their throat–every noise is as bad as someone banging a timpani right next to my ears, as far as distraction is concerned, it’s all the same.
Earlier this evening I tried to sit in my bedroom while my husband was downstairs watching The Walking Dead. I first showered and brushed my teeth, and organized my space a little, because a cluttered space just isn’t conducive to cultivating an uncluttered mind. Just as I was preparing to sit, our old cat began meowing his head off. He is mostly blind and mostly deaf, and meows loudly in a feline echo location of sorts as he tries to get his bearings in our new house.
Well, crap. I walked over to our master bathroom where we keep his litter box, his food, and his water. I gave him a fresh bowl of water, made sure he had plenty of food, petted him, put him in our bed, and hoped that he would settle down and snooze. He finally settled, but by that time my husband was done watching his show, which meant that he was going to head to our room to shower off and go to bed. I was disgruntled. I told him what happened with the cat, told him I hadn’t yet sat, and he said, “Well, what do you want me to do? You can’t sit with me up there?” Then I began grumbling about how hard it is to sit with someone shuffling around in the room, But, I said, it’s your bedroom, so come on up. Grumble grumble grumble.
I put earplugs in, pulled my fleece hat all the way over my eyes to block out two of my senses, hoping it would make it easier to go inwards. Sensory withdrawal is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and a crucial element of successful meditation. Withdrawal of the senses is easier, of course, when there isn’t so much sensory input in one’s space to begin with. Think about the quiet of a monastery or an ascetic’s cave dwelling–there isn’t much to disturb one’s journey inwards.
But a monastery or a cave dwelling this house is not. So even with the earplugs I heard my husband in the shower and my cat meowing a few more times. I heard my husband slide the glass doors of the shower enclosure when he stepped out, I heard him toweling off and brushing his teeth. I saw the light flick on and off, heard him start to say something to me and then stop when he realized I was trying to sit against all odds.
Yep, feeling sorry for myself. Still mourning the loss of my room. And there is a great battle being waged within, many parts vying for my attention, wanting to be validated. One of the loudest parts is the one saying, You don’t have anything to complain about. Stop being so spoiled. You have a bed, for God’s sake, a home, food, children, a husband, a family, a job. Stop being so goddamned self-centered. Well, that voice certainly isn’t helping me to feel any better.
Another part of me is hopeful. It says, Maybe you’ll come out of this stronger in your ability to concentrate. Just keep trying. Keep showing up for your practice. You’re doing fine.
Another voice that pipes up is that of my inner child. She is just plain having a tantrum about all of this. No fair no fair no fair! She shouts. What happened to my room? I want my room! No fair!
What do I say to such an angry little girl to help her feel better?
Anyway, that’s where I am tonight. Wishing for a space all of my own, searching for meaning in all of this, trying to adapt, wanting to be good, wanting to let myself want what I want, wanting to grow up, wanting to be nurtured and coddled…wanting. Could this be about me releasing attachments and embracing reality, loving what is, regardless?
Friends, any thoughts you might offer will be much appreciated, even if it’s just to say, “I hear you.” Thanks for listening. I hope you all are happy in this moment.