A few words about calming the MIND: this was undeniably one of the most difficult things for me to learn how to do as a person who had grown up traumatized and with lots of intellectual defenses and anxiety, not to mention the well developed dark alleys of depressive thoughts. Literally, it has taken my whole lifetime to learn it, and I am still learning. However, I will never give up learning this because it has proved to be the most important task, and its fruit is sweet, so sweet. Which is why I share it with you, my fellow traveler, and encourage you to persist in the task, till you taste the sweet fruit too….
Remembering the heart may seem like an unlikely entry point into taming the mind, but only taking a few moments for the experience itself can convince you. You may not be convinced the first time you try, or for many a time to come, but just dont give up on yourself, and allow yourself to remember this task, again and again, when the moment is right for you.
What is this task, Remembering the Heart? What does it consist of? As for myself, I first encountered the idea when I attended a Berkeley, CA meeting of some Sufi friends who had gathered together to listen to Llewellyn Vaughn Lee, who had come in from London to talk about a meditation of the heart that he had learned from Irina Tweedie, author of Daughter of Fire, and an amazing early woman Sufi teacher from the West, but trained in the East.
What I learned from Llewellyn, was to sit quietly, and comfortably, and to remember love, and to do this by evoking the memory of whatever it was at that moment could help us to remember the pure feeling of love. Even if it is just the face of the dog or the blush of pink over the sky at sunrise…. anything at all that would give the hint of the feeling of love. And once the feeling is evoked, just catch onto that thread and let it expand in the heart. Keep coming back to it again and again, no matter where the mind goes. Keep recentering and remembering Love itself.
Some days will be harder than others, so try to sit regularly for a few minutes, but at least sometimes try to make it an hour. Of course your mind will try to think of many things. The mind will tell you everything else is important and must be done right now. But do what you can to convince the mind, cajole it, and if you must force it to make time… to sit in the silent art of remembering love, remembering the heart.
On the best days something will soften and open up, something like sunshine and like nothing at all both at the same time will replace the chaos of the mind and you will rest in it, relieved, loved, remembered by love, remembering love, you will float, or perhaps dissolve, and then you will be glad that you sat through all the harder times, when you weren’t sure why you were really sitting, or what you were waiting for. Once you have this taste, it will help you to keep a regular practice. Until you do, keep listening to those who have gone before you on the journey and who have tasted the pure water, of the sweetness of the heart, which is Love, Love, Love.
Meditation itself may not solve many of your outer problems, (or it may?), but regardless, a regular practice of meditating a few minutes or an hour a day will make you stronger, more flexible and more able to solve problems as they come your way in life. Llewellyn also taught that: ”many problems can not be solved on the level of the problem”. This was confusing to me for many years, but over the decades I have seen it proved true again and again. Many times I let go of the attitude of struggle I was having with a particular problem and focused on wellness and peace within, and next thing I know, some solution to that problem just came along and presented itself. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not promoting an attitude of irresponsibility or shirking of problems. What I am promoting is a balance of effortful problem solving with a peaceful listening of sitting in the heart and letting yourself rest in the peace of the love of the heart, and then coming back, refreshed and renewed with a new approach to the dilemmas at hand.
This heart mediation from the Sufi path has meant so much to my life, that I always take the opportunity to teach it when I can. I offer it first in the rotation of Full Moon Meditation events each January, and will also teach it during the Summer Solstice Event and other classes, as time allows. But why wait? Just take a few minutes now, how about set a timer for what you can spare 5 or 25 minutes and just practice right now….just close your eyes and remember something, someone that makes the feeling of love begin to tingle or grow in your heart and then let your mind and heart focus fully on that tingly place, the heart, the place where we often feel love. Just let the feeling be there, and let your mind be there with it. When your mind wanders, remind yourself, and resume putting your attention there on the memory of love, in the Remembrance of the Heart. Let the door of the heart take you were it will……