Meditation for me is like unlocking some secret world where I feel great and I see the truth that everything and everyone is beautiful and amazing. It took me a couple years to find the key or learn the combination, or more like a couple months once I committed to practicing daily.
Making that commitment was hard, why? Well how do I commit to something I don't understand or really even know what it is? For me it seemed like agreeing to eat a food everyday that I had yet to taste, what if I don't like it? What the heck is meditation anyway and how do I know if I'm doing it right? I had no clue nor did I know who to ask, nobody I knew meditated.
The first half dozen or so times I tried meditating I sat there feeling foolish and nothing happened...
We learn to talk by imitating those around us, this is why we speak the same language as our parents or caregivers. It seems to me that relationship is the same way, we learn to relate by copying those around us.
Learning to speak a foreign language is much easier when it is immersion, it's easier to learn Spanish when living in Mexico. The opposite is also true in that it is much harder to learn healthy relationship skills when surrounded by people who relate poorly.
Speaking our native tongue is easy, even if it's Pig Latin, gibberish, or Klingon, speaking it would be effortless on our part if we grew up immersed in this language. This is why dysfunctional relating comes so easily and is normal to us, since birth many of us have been surrounded by examples of what not to do. Relationships where no one is getting their needs met nor are they unconditionally loved...
After a gorgeous fun day at the lake we tried a new local restaurant with two other families. While eating one father said he couldn't trade food because they are vegetarian. My wife commented how I don't understand vegetarianism and asked him why they don't eat meat.
Internally, as I was listening to him, my ego was in full on battle mode and finding inconsistencies, hypocrisy, and all kinds of reasons why his choice is wrong. If I had voiced my inner lawyer, what are the chances that he would say "oh wow I never thought of that, I've been such a fool and I'm going to start eating meat right now, thanks so much for educating me"? Probably about as likely as him convincing me to stop eating meat and changing my diet.
Later that evening I remembered the principle of common ground...
I was shopping for a new propane hose for a camp stove. A big box hardware store was selling it for $25, and at the small local hardware store it was $40.
Both stores were about the same distance out of our way, my first thought was what a ripoff, why pay more for the exact same product? And then I wondered if I really wanted to go to the huge warehouse megastore and feel unknown in some cold uncaring system? In my feeling torn over where to shop the question that came to me is what is that extra $15 supporting? Or what does our world look like when our custom(er) is to support local mom and pop shops or huge international chain megastores...
I challenge you to stop watching the news, listening to news radio, or reading news magazines and websites, and NOT feel better. I certainly felt much calmer, relaxed, peaceful, and at ease without that constant stream of negativity conditioning us to believe that this is the dominant way of our world. The proof for me is asking this question: how many people do I know personally that commit violent acts or are violated on a daily basis? I don't know any people who commit acts of terror, murder, rape, robbery, or battery, and yet if I watch the news I'm told these people are everywhere all around me. And even if our world is this violent how does sitting on the couch watching endless stories about it help...
What?!? Sound crazy? Well for me eating food I don't want to eat and doing workouts I don't want to do, that's crazy. I tried for decades to commit to formulaic diets and regimented gym workouts. I stuck it out for months and sometimes as long as a year, and every time I would eventually burnout. I wasted thousands of dollars on unused gym memberships and uneaten supplements, protein powders, and bars.
Why did I fail? Or did I? A lifetime spent doing stuff I don't want to do sounds more like failure to me. I like to see it as I succeeded at escaping some miserable choices that weren't really mine, I broke out of Shawshank...