Trying on a STILL Practice
This exercise is for those of you who either have no experience whatsoever with meditation or contemplative prayer or haven't engaged in your practice for some time.
At the risk of scaring you off before we even get started, I'd like to urge you to try the following exercise (keeping in mind that if you do begin this program, you can start with fewer minutes or ditch the timer altogether): Set a timer for ten minutes. Sit quietly, without talking or moving much. Still your mind. Observe this silence until the bell rings. Try it now.
Done? If you have never had a regular meditation practice, this exercise can feel a bit like a mild (or not so mild) form of torture. While sitting in the silence, you may have been bombarded with relentless thoughts of all the things you could be getting accomplished if you weren’t sitting in silence. Or perhaps you were excruciatingly bored. Maybe your back hurt, or your head hurt, or perhaps all of the unkind thoughts (about yourself or others) you’ve been keeping at bay surfaced, causing you to feel some complicated and unpleasant emotions. Perhaps your worries (long and incomplete to-do lists, unpaid bills, lack of direction, etc.) pressed down on you with uncomfortable force.
One practice meditation is typically all it takes to get a sense of why it is that we go to such great lengths to stay busy. If we slow down, if we get quiet, all hell breaks loose inside of us. And really, who in their right mind wants to willfully subject themselves to mental stress, physical discomfort, and leftover emotional baggage?
But here's the thing. It's vitally important to realize that until you deal with all of this inner chaos, it affects every aspect of your life: your relationships, your health, your financial situation, your ability to make decisions and to move forward on all fronts, etc. You can distract yourself for years—lifetimes, perhaps—but you can never outrun your worry, your guilt, or your self-destructive thoughts. The only way out, as they say, is through.
So let's get through it together. The 12 MONTH WILDERNESS GUIDE is HERE for those of you who want companionship in the Wilderness, along with a more structured approach to your time there. Use my experience and employ the exercises I suggest if you feel so led. But please understand that while the guide may be helpful, it isn't necessary. All you really need is a slight nudge and a willingness to step off into the Wilderness. Everything you need is there.
It is never too late, and you are never too broken.