It is always the same step, but you have to keep taking it.

Jan 3, 2016
As I mentioned before, I've been using the Stop, Breathe and Think app to work on my meditation practice. I've tried meditation lots of times in the past, but I was never able to stick with it - but I was trying it with just plain old "sit and think of nothing" meditation, and I kept getting frustrated that I couldn't, well, think of nothing. Then I read The Mindful Way Through Depression and finally understood that that was the point; then I started working on my Dedicant Path in earnest, including the required mental training practice. 

For years I thought that I couldn't meditate before bed, because surely I'd fall asleep. Since I always complain about how long it takes me to fall asleep I don't know why I thought that. A couple of weeks ago, faced with the requirement not only to meditate but to document my progress, I realized that if I didn't set a regular schedule it wasn't going to happen, and I added meditation to my bedtime ritual: after the shower, but before that last hour or so of reading. Turns out that works beautifully. I'm more relaxed and better able to fall asleep, I know I'm not going to be interrupted, and my mind has begun to fall naturally into mindfulness later in the evening (which also helps keep me from accidentally staying up past my bedtime).

And then, last night, something weird happened. I sat down to do my evening meditation and I didn't want to listen to a guided meditation - I wanted quiet. I wanted to sit quietly alone with my breath. I'd never actively wanted this before, so I was conservative and set the timer for four minutes, which is about how long I usually spend, but it wasn't long enough. I did another four and felt fully settled, but also like I could have sat there for much longer, watching thoughts go by, breathing. It was outstanding. 

This is one of those Mysteries, the moment of understanding something that you've been told countless times that finally makes sense in your bones. I love those moments. The more of them that happen to me, the more I understand that they only happen after you've spent time with something, and that by definition that means I have to spend time with things I don't really understand before I can reach them.

Something I haven't mentioned, either in this blog or out loud to myself just yet - I've been feeling very disconnected from the gods, since long before I started this Path. Doing ritual gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, but that connection is still missing. I'm starting to see a glimmer, though, not of the connection itself but of the possibility that it's out there, if I keep spending time with the possibility. Is this faith? 

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