“Maybe you need to spend more time in meditation and you wouldn’t freak out that way.” Yes, that is what a dear friend said to ME recently after I recanted a story of what had happened the day earlier. ..
Imagine pulling up to a four way stop, and a family of very little ducklings, following ever so closely to their mother, has just decided it’s a good time for all nine of them to cross to street- is on your right. Just then another car races to the stop sign on your left, decides you are not moving fast enough and punches through the crosswalk,
either not seeing the ducklings, or assuming they will scatter when the car gets to them. In this moment, ask yourself, “What would any good teacher of meditation do in this situation?” If you are thinking that they would close their eyes, join their thumb and forefinger together and try to Om the situation away… then you are in the right place…keep reading. The reality is, if that situation calls for hitting the gas, blocking the oncoming duck killing car with yours, and then jumping out of your car with hands extended like you did when you were the overly proud 2nd grade crossing guard, then so be it. Further, if it calls for you yelling at the top of your lungs to all approaching vehicles who have no idea what is going on, “Pay. Attention!!!” Then so be it. Clearly the day’s mediation, paid off, you were the only one who was mindfully present, aware, and took action in that moment – because in fact, that is exactly what any decent meditation teacher would do.
Now let’s get back to the comment that I started with at the top of this newsletter. Remember the one about me, “freaking out? This brings us to a HUGE misconception about meditation. The goal of meditation is not to make you some bead wearing, white clothed, long haired hippie, meandering through life, whose only concern is what tree to hug next. The point is to make you more mindful as you go through life so that you have the ability in real time to respond to any situation with the right emotion that the situation calls for. This is very, very different than simply reacting to a situation from a place of anger, aggression, hostility or frustration. Understand that passion and anger are not the same, and in fact, have very little in common; although to the unobservant, less mindful eye, they may. Passion is caring about a topic with all of your heart…anger is a need to be right with all of your head, your heart having nothing to do with it.
A great example of this is in the book by Dan Harris (Good Morning America’s weekend anchor) “10 % happier, how I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually woks – a true story.” In this book Dan points out the same thing…meditation does not mean losing your passion, your zeal for life, or your drive. The fact is, it brings out the best in us, as you begin to have much more clarity into what REALLY matters. Another book that will surprise you is, “A Mindful Nation” by Congressman Tim Ryan. He too methodically looks at all of the research done on meditation, and how to change our nation to a more mindful one through meditation; and I can assure you, he too is passionate about it!
When someone stands up for another being bullied, or takes a stance against large companies continuing to infiltrate our food system with substitutes that have nothing to do with actual food, or becomes an activist in communities trying to find a solution to all of the gun violence in our schools…I look forward to the day where we look at these passionate people who aren’t sitting on the sidelines; rather they are actively becoming part of a solution, and our reaction is, “O I bet they meditate.” Taking a passionate stance for what needs to be done to make our world a better place, starts with having a heart and brain that are in coherence, a mind that is free from clutter and distractions, and motivating others to follow our example of “right mindful action.” All of which we get from meditation.
So the next time you see a passionate self-appointed duckling traffic cop, a highly competitive national television anchor, or a Congressmen debating the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act– think twice about where their passion and focus comes from; it might just be from a round floor cushion and some very mindful daily quiet time.
Part time duckling traffic cop