On the meaning of Meditation

I’m here for 2 weeks in Crete to meditate. This is a curiosity to some of those at home and even here. “What is your definition of meditation?” Asks a woman who has chosen to sit beside me at breakfast in the small tourist hotel near Rodakino, and then begins to tell me what she understands the anthroposophist’s definition to be. IMG_0231.JPG. After a consideration I briefly respond, “it is being fully present”, except then I am immediately aware this was my reaction to her questioning – and in itself removed me from my being fully present. “Oh shit!” I think to myself, as her expose’ continues, without pause. I wondered briefly “why I am being subjected to this interrogation when I readily see the woman is more interested in hearing herself speak than to actually listen to anything other than her preconception and her own thoughts exposed.” Again I ask myself…”Why am I being grilled and lectured?” My dilemma.

“How often am I like this?” I invite myself to consider? This situation does not occur in a vacuum. I believe it, as all other events, are opportunities to fuel my understanding and compassion for both myself and others. Obviously I am being given a mirror on which to reflect. Can I do this without running, much less screaming, “Oy!”?

She proceeds to expand …her outer noise further creating a space for me to go inward until fortunately she no longer receives any more fuel from me to feed her seemingly endless chatter – as if by magic all goes immediately quiet. My observation of her silence pulls me from my state… I am temporarily in a quandary. My first instinct is to ask ‘how’ this can be and immediately recognize that my simple ‘how’ is the question that can only be answered literally by an active and noisy mind. I return to silence…giving myself the space to just be. Ah that’s better.

The only sounds now are the wasps and hornets that surround the tourist’s plates laden with honey, jam and meats and the hum and buzz of more quiet conversations at the tables behind me. I sit in present observation and wonder if I am now allowing my open heart to sense what is truly before me. I am no longer shutting myself up but instead allowing the flow of my breath, the sounds and sights to ebb and flow around me. It is only me, here, I muse. My now quiet companion leaves the table, she has no one with whom to speak and I wonder if she has been put off by my silence.

I suppose in an earlier incarnation of my current life I might’ve said, “tough luck.” Only it is now I realize this is my chance to quiet my own inner noise and she a mere reminder for me. To be gentle. And I am left alone to sit viewing the olive trees and the hills in front of me. The light dances upon the scenery.

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