Monday morning. It's a gorgeous summer day. I walked the dogs in the park, came back, made myself a cup of white tea (it only has a little caffeine), read a chapter of "When Things Fall Apart" which was called "Servants of Peace." Regarding meditation it said:
"When we sit down to meditate, we can connect with something unconditional - a state of mind, a basic environment that does not grasp or reject anything. Meditation is probably the only activity that doesn't add anything to the picture. Everything is allowed to come and go without further embellishment."
I guess that's if you do it right. This morning, I had a hard time not embellishing. Why is sitting and connecting with the breath so hard? I like the stillness, but this morning I kept thinking about...writing...about what I want to say...regarding some of the events that happened this weekend and have shaped my thoughts.
On Saturday I heard from three different men. They were all feeling some degree of pain about their lives. One is a dear friend I've known for twenty-five years. We'll call him Jim. He has a job that he isn't enjoying and he's extremely talented, but he's not using most of his talents for this work. He would also like to make more money. He loves his family and knows how blessed he is to have them. His wife and child adore him.
Another friend, (we'll call him Pete) has had a very abundant business for the last few years, but this year it's been much more of a struggle. He enjoys the work and has ideas about how to enrich his services, but he's very nervous about not taking more actions to increase business as he takes the time to study. His wife is even more nervous and she's angry at him. She's been freelancing and taking care of their kids, but will probably have to get a full-time job to add to their income. He spends a great deal of time with his children and is a good father. Right now their relationship is tense and they are both pretty miserable.
The third man I heard from is someone I met recently. Ed. Ed is single, his business has also sharply declined and he is freaking out. He doesn't know what to do and he's having a hard time coping with the anxiety.
So all of this started to get to me as I thought about the culture we live in and how stressed out we all are. And about what is valued and how hard it is to manage everything; work, kids, parents, our health, money...and most of us live in relative affluence compared to the rest of the world.
One of the headlines in today's NY Times is that a second wave of people defaulting on their mortgages is coming and it could be even larger than the first wave. Life is tough for many people right now.
I don't have any answers to these problems. I am dealing with my own struggle. But I am grateful that today is an absolutely beautiful day with bright sunshine and blue skies.
And maybe later today I can try meditating again. With no embellishments.