The Examined Life: March 2012
When I started meditating, I thought it was all about me. I felt stressed, my mind was chaotic, panic was overwhelming my body, I needed something to calm me down. I was highly focused on myself and my problems, and I saw meditation as something that might help me cope. It has helped me cope, but increasingly this has happened not just through allowing me to work more skilfully with my internal experience, but by expanding my capacity to be and stay in relationship with others. Opening up to a wider space of awareness and connection, via the practice of mindfulness, has made it a lot less claustrophobic in here.
This expansion seems to have happened quite organically. First I began to discover that my automatic patterns of reacting to events weren’t just happening in my inner space—the thoughts, emotions and body sensations I was having also impacted on how I operated in the world. When I felt angry with someone, I’d instinctively avoid them, amoeba-like, pulling out of connection and into isolation. In meditation, I began to see this pattern clearly.Read more »