Monday 3rd Week Lent 2015

PHOTO: LAURENCE FREEMAN

Luke 4:24-30: Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.

How could a vision of life as radically counter-cultural to the idea of worldly success ever have become a world religion? With hierarchies, strategic planners, political forces and a desire to make everyone its adherents? Because it is not frightened of sin. Because it sees its founder as ‘becoming sin for our sake’. Because it’s about incarnation not sublimation.

But we should never forget  - and Lent won’t let us – that we cannot pursue success, acceptance, acclaim as authentic goals of life, and be real.

Many people feel that they fail at meditation. They do. And they don't. It is true they don't achieve the perfection they are seeking and that will seem like a falling short. Many then give up because they have been conditioned by their ego to think that only success has meaning. Only success is rewarded. Big error. Those who hang in the practice, awaken, in the process of failing, to the discovery that, even though they aren't perfect, they are winning a victory they had not even imagined. It’s the victory of fidelity: the force of radical transformation. In meditation we score no goals but we win the match. Most people who stay faithful to the practice find the inner freedom that comes with an embraced discipline. They will add, in a self-deprecating way, that they are not good meditators. 

The experience of meditation is unlike any other. It is extremely difficult to define because it is an entry into such radical simplicity that we lose even the words to describe it. Because it gently penetrates to the deepest centre of our existence it involves and influences everything in our life with a marvellous capacity to unify. Past and future merge into the present. Fears and obsessions melt. We see the good in our enemies. We are expanded by love and we expand the world by love. Every contemplative consciousness (this does not mean 'me') is able, to some degree, to absorb evil into the good.

In the process it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and helps us sleep better at night. These are only some of the notes of a great music of being that we become able to listen to by making meditation part of our life. We even see the music playing in daily life. 

But that might put you off  for sounding too mystical. With the focus of simple awareness, other-centredness and self-knowledge that Lent develops, however, we awaken to just how simple, unified - and 'good' in a way that goes deeper than any moral sense of the word -  each moment of each day is. That's why we hang in and ignore the egocentric feeling of failure and don’t worry what people say.

With love
Laurence
 
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