Meditating regularly is like building a lasting friendship, entering into a dialogue with a living partner, creating a space of calm and peace within ourselves.
Another and better place
Our daily inward journeys in meditation are an encounter with a current that reflects everything we contain inside us. Thoughts, feelings, memories. It is like stepping into an ever-changing reflection from here and now, then and there, from our childhood as well as the present, from family, relationships, and experiences.
Meditation opens up an inner sensitivity and acceptance of something in us that is always in motion. In the flow of new thoughts, meditation releases a resource of equanimity, an inner resource that helps us to change and endure, that says there will always be a day after this one.
In meditation, we encounter the past and what has been, but also what continues in the present, where we are curious and may wonder about what awaits us. Discomfort and difficulties can release their hold on us; the everyday baggage we carry becomes less heavy, the horizon a little lighter.
No one knows beforehand how an individual meditation will proceed. Still, when the meditation is over and we open our eyes again after allowing the effects to sink in, we are in a different and better place; something has changed.
The honesty of meditation
Our best friends do not always tell us what we want them to tell us. Because they wish us well, they convey instead what they believe we ought to hear, what is important for us to know.
So too with meditation. After meditating, we know more about how we feel; whether we are tired, restless, reconciled or satisfied. This makes it easier to understand where we are and how we can best act. Honesty is part of the essence of meditation.
In an external sense, we are alone when we meditate, but we are not alone inside. Meditation can provide us with a living nearness where we are not abandoned or left to our own devices. We can take part in something more, something that transcends, gives, renews, and strengthens.
Meditation is not a friend that distracts us, tries to make us preoccupied with something else, “think positively” and create a distance. It is an ally that mirrors, helps us better to connect with ourselves, provides insight and security through our ability to understand.
A friend you never tire of
To meditate daily is to have a friend to rely on. It is there with an opening towards rest and renewal that works well wherever we are. The meditative friendship makes the calm and the good even better, the bad a little easier.
Long-term friendships can be particularly enriching, over time more rewarding and fruitful. Meditation is a friend you never get tired of. Through its spontaneity, meditation always has something to tell us, something to help and contribute.
During illness, meditation can provide a rest we would otherwise not obtain.
When life is nearing the end, meditation is a friend you may rely on almost to the very last moment, someone you can hold on to when you are otherwise weak.
A whisper we must listen to
There can be competition between friends. Setting aside time for meditation can require prioritizing it over other things. Nevertheless, inside our meditation, there is no competition or jealousy. Meditating opens up an inner space without limits.
The resources in the meditative are not consumed, are not wasted, do not hinder others. What we achieve does not empty anything, does not occur at the expense of anyone else.
Being together over a long period can really show what friends are worth. Good, in-depth conversations take us places we have not been before. The same applies to long meditations and retreats. There we can even better recognize the possibilities in this inner friendship.
Our meditative partner is always there if we want. At the same time, it is up to us. Meditation does not seek us out, does not come running after us, does not shout or push us.
Meditation is a whisper that we ourselves must actively choose to listen to, an inner voice to seek out, an ally that it is up to us to create a space for.
By Ole Gjems-Onstad – an initiator in Acem and president of Acem International.
Translated by Eirik Jensen