This morning I was “conversating” with a friend I have met in Sunday School. This friend also grew up in a conservative Christian church but now subscribes to a different faith orientation as I do. Meditation is a key emphasis in our Sunday School class and we commiserated this morning about the pronounced resistance we often face in disciplining our “monkey minds” to meditate.
Personally speaking, meditation meets fierce resistance in my heart as if something deep inside views it with fear and disdain, as if every fiber of being finds it anathema. I think this is because of deep-seated old recordings from my youth in which anything like “meditation” had the ring of “Eastern” and “non-Christian” and was therefore “of the devil.”
But now I see meditation as a primary direction in my spiritual life, as a key element in the development of my spirituality. I see it as the next step for me to take in the experiencing of my Source, in achieving a very paltry, limited experience of the Incarnation, of the “word being made flesh.” And this resistance I see in Pauline terms as spiritual warfare. To borrow the words of Paul, “I will to do good, but evil is present with me, or, “I will to do good, but evil is present with me.” For the Pauline term the “old man” is merely a term for resistance, that stubborn energy constellation that seeks to perpetuate itself, to resist change and maturity. It is the “letter of the law” resisting the “spirit of the law”
Now still another term I like to use, from modern-day clinical colloquial jargon, is “stuck” or “stuck-ness.” We tend to live our life in a “stuck” mode and it is very hard to get dislodged. This is because we tend to live life on automatic pilot and our “automatic pilot” does not was to lose its autonomy. You could think of this automatic pilot as a constellation of energy which wants to continue to discharge in the pattern to which it is accustomed. Other relevant terms are “neurosis” or “maladaptive behavior patterns.”
And though relationships with other people, especially close and intimate relationships are essential in addressing these “stuckness”, we are ultimately alone as we battle these demons. As Shakespeare noted in Macbeth:
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorry,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of the perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.