Great seeing so many of you last night. It is always incredible to see how open everyone is to this practice and how much we all trust and support one another. For me, it took several years before I even started meditating in groups and opening myself up to new ideas and teachings.
Before our first sitting, when I was trying to decide how to introduce this practice, I felt nervous. I know that meditation and this level of deep sharing is not something we are accustomed too. I was initially concerned there would be resistance, some of which might be directed toward me. However, everyone seems to intuit naturally what this practice is about and how it can best serve the individual.
I have shared with you all from the beginning that this meditation is about openness and experiencing what is present for each of us. My role is simply that of a facilitator. I offer informal guidance and suggest practices that, for me, have been transformational. It is my genuine intention that the meditation be conducted in this manner.
However, I often notice my mind begin to create an alternate story, one where I am separate and above others. In this scenario, I understand things in a way others do not. I imagine the group could really benefit, if only they would listen to and follow me.
This idea of the separate and, in some way, superior self can be very attractive to us. By placing ourselves above others, we are validated as individuals. A buffer is created, protecting us from anonymity and exclusion. Unfortunately, this attitude also fuels so much of what causes suffering in our world: prejudice, oppression, separation.
Recently, I have begun to explore this egotistical mind, to notice my condescending or critical thoughts. I ask myself, are these thoughts true? Is this person really boring or ignorant? And are these things really important? Do I need this false sense of superiority to feel ok?
I also explore how it feels to be judgmental, what are the bodily sensations that accompany these thoughts. Invariably, I notice a tightness in the chest and sense of grasping, an effort to hold onto what is mine, what makes me “ok”. I try not to resist these feelings, or be too hard on myself for what some might call petty thoughts or small-mindedness. I think all of us, on some level, crave validation and fear loosing ourselves.
Thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to share and I hope some of this resonates with you all. If not, that is fine too. I am excited to hear what is real for you all as we continue to sit and share.