In the last two reflections, I have outlined three elements of meditation. I use the word element, because the three ways I have chosen could be regarded as steps in the practice, but they are also associated with the aims and objectives of meditation.
- The first is the act of bringing our attention to the present moment. We do this by regulating the breath, stilling the body and calming the mind.
- The second way of meditating is akin to traditional forms of prayer. This is where we focus our attention on a thing of value, such as the well-being of family and friends or the ability of our body to heal itself.
- A third way to meditate is when we find ourselves confronting one of life’s big questions, and we turn our attention inward to the well-spring of creativity that is within us all. We adopt what might be called a listening heart. This type of meditation is characterized by the spirit of patience. Over time, this third path to meditation has the capacity to free us from the illusion that we are powerless in the face of pain or difficulty.
Let’s consider in more detail, the third way of meditation, where we attend to the spirit of creativity within us to heal ourselves so that we can heal others. Notice the order in which I have put this. It is a fundamental tenet of meditation that we can enhance our capacity to support others by making sure that we, ourselves, are grounded and at peace.
If ever there was a time when the planet needed healing it is now. We are united by the clear and present danger of a common enemy with which we cannot reason nor cajole. Under the reality of Covid, we need to recalibrate what it means to be healed. Crucially, we also need to re-evaluate what it means to be a healer.
Doctors and nurses, hospital staff and ambulance crews committed to their professions under conditions that no training in the pre-Covid world prepared them for. That is the most evident kind of healing that we are witnessing currently.
Dare we hope that a different order of healing is also going on? There is a deeply painful clearing of our minds and hearts; sorrow for the all the inhabitants of the earth; bereavement in the face of so much death that cannot be mourned in traditional ways; and the near-absence of hope that many people are suffering. All of these things cut like a scalpel through that part of our minds where optimism lives. So, even those of us who do not have Covid 19 feel like we are on a kind of life-support for the spirit.
However, we can also see evidence that people of all ages are reaching into the deepest part of themselves to find ways to survive and even flourish. And, when we look very closely at the light that comes through those people who pass on peace and well-being, we can see one thing that they all have in common.
They have each found a way to put their own needs in perspective in the framework of the ultimate well-being of others on the planet.
That is one definition of a healer.