I feel like this month has not been very spiritual productive, and so I had a hard time writing this column. I spent several days trying to come up with a topic that I could write about that would allow me to show some sort of progress. But, this was a month of dark nights of the soul, failure, and stagnation.
My biggest failure was my attempt at meditation. I signed up to take part in a 21-day guided meditation program with high hopes that it would provide the impetus I needed to get back into a regular practice. The daily program was short; I just needed to find fifteen minutes a day to fit it in. By day three I had already fallen behind. And, when I was able to make time, my son could race cars around my feet or decide it was the time to try to have a deep discussion with me about his latest Lego creation. I tried to explain to him what I was doing, but needing time to not think doesn’t make a lot of sense of a five-year old.
By day five of the program I was done. I decided that talking about Lego and watching videos with my son was a better use of my time. He isn’t going to be small for much longer, and I want to cherish my time with him. And, when I stopped to think about it, I’m pretty sure I learned a greater spiritual lesson by making this choice than I would have learned by sticking with a meditation practice that isn’t working right now. However, when my little guy is back in school in a few short days, I will develop that meditation practice. The few moments of peace I was able to achieve this month through meditation showed me that it is something I should be working into my spiritual path.
Without getting too personal, the dark nights of the soul that I experienced this month taught me a few things too. There are parts of my life right now that I love. I am so blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, and I’m also blessed that my husband is able to work from home the majority of the time. We get to spend a lot of time with our son, and I am very grateful for that. I’m also lucky that I can pursue my interests with relative freedom, and that there isn’t anything that I need that I don’t have. But there some things that cause me a lot of mental strife, and sometimes those emotions break loose. Working through those emotions calmly can bring spiritual peace, and so can the practice of recognizing our blessings. I still need to work developing some equanimity, though.
The petulance I was feeling this month meant that I didn’t spend much time reading holy books or spiritual writings. I felt like my attitude would somehow sully the words I was reading. But, now that I think about it more clearly, I realize that reading one of those works would likely have helped me regain my even keel. Don’t most of us turn to religion for comfort and wise words when we are feeling out of sorts? We pray to God or the Goddess, we meditate, we study holy books, read Tarot cards, or speak to our co-religionists. I did none of these things. I sulked, hid, and ignored the spiritual help that was there for me.
This month I’ll be back to work, most likely focusing on ways to bring, at least at this point, a sort of generic spirituality physically into my home and life. I’ll also be back to reading books, perhaps the Koran and some of Rumi’s poetry. And, of course, I’ll try facing my old bugbear, meditation, yet again.