Last night I went to the second session of my meditation class. I love this class so much. I have gone to several meditation classes and retreats before, and always ended up feeling like it wasn’t for me, or I wasn’t doing it right, or something. It didn’t fully click somehow. But this class, and this teacher, clicked from the moment I walked in the door. I love this place in downtown Oakland. The teacher fills me with a sense of calm. Her voice is just amazingly soothing, reassuring, peaceful. The sound of the bell at the end of the meditation is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.
Last week, when I went for the first time, it was a Monday night, the night before I went to my first diabetes class and started using my blood glucometer. I was wound up tighter than a spring. I was anxious, distraught, grieving the loss of my innocent health, and just a wreck. But I knew that I needed this. I knew that stress is one thing that has a definite affect on blood glucose levels. It also has an effect on weight loss – if you’re stressed out, your cortisol levels rise, and that makes you gain weight, or unable to lose it. So I felt like coming to this meditation class and learning how to de-stress was as important as taking my medication or exercising.
I loved it pretty much immediately. Sitting there, I felt like my heart was breaking and I was just opening up in all directions. I felt like I had found an absolutely essential little sanctuary in time and place. I needed it.
Last night the teacher opened with this poem by the poet Kabir, and that was it – I started tearing up right away.
You know the sprout is hidden inside the seed
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside
The blue sky opens out farther and farther
The daily sense of failure goes away
The damage I have done to myself fades
A million suns come forward with light
When I sit firmly in that world.
Whoo. Right? That line – the damage I have done to myself fades – just made my heart start pounding. The damage I have done. I really feel that now, the years that I overate and didn’t take care of myself. The tendency to want to blame and punish myself for getting to the point of having diabetes. It makes me want to howl sometimes. But then that other word – fades – is also true. It’s fading. With every thing I do to be good to myself, it fades. But wow, it is there.
The thing that I love about this meditation class is that it is all about love and compassion. Because I think truly that that is the key for me, it is the ONLY WAY out. Because when I was eating more than I needed, for so many years, it was because I was chasing love (in all the wrong places), I was hurt and rejected-feeling and all the food in the world couldn’t make that go away (although believe me I tried). And so while counting calories and points and exercising is all good and important, I don’t think there’s a shadow of a chance it can work unless I find a way to live with more love and compassion, for myself and for others.