Sunday, April 26, 2009
In Ottawa last night we may have had a tornado whip through at around 7-7:30. All I know is that I was leading a meditation workshop and it got really windy. But we were sitting there with our eyes closed. At one point I got up to shut the windows tight because it was getting to be like a séance in the Sky Room with the window latches moving and the blinds going wild.
As I was the one leading the group I felt I could open my eyes and check things out and I'm pleased to say that group just sat there noticing the sensations in their bodies and did not appear to be distracted by the external weather. We heard the wind come up, we heard the rain begin to pelt against the north-facing windows, and everybody sat still and made no fuss about it.
To me, that was a great demonstration of meditation at work - the outside world can just go and do its thing - there was nothing we could do in the moment about that weather, it was just happening - and the meditators sat firm and were unmoved. After the meditation was finished we may have commented, "oh it got windy," and "it was rainier on one side of the building than the other." But there was no drama about it at all. (The drama came afterwards listening to the news about it and driving past the debris!)
Cultivating an inner sense of calm has a lot of value. When things go wild around us, we have a place to take refuge, for one thing. It's right inside and it's with us all the time, the shelter from the storm. The way to get there is to just follow the breath...
(Please note the picture is borrowed and is not from last night in Ottawa!)