It’s not as easy as it was
or as difficult as it could be
— The Samurai in Autumn, Pet Shop Boys
By the time my head finally hit the pillow late last night, I was ready to put the day behind me. The heartbreak of seeing a rock crumbling under the stress of caring for a loved one afflicted by dementia. The sense of pride in the pots waiting for me on my shelves at the pottery studio, fresh out of the kiln. The giddy rush of a table for four at a Tribeca trend-setter. I put these all behind me, and slipped into the frenzy of dream, then the blissful unknowing of deep sleep.
Deep sleep is a sort of homecoming for us, a place of regeneration we visit—hopefully—night after night. It’s where we know nothing, where we abide close to the sakshmi, the witness. It’s a state of blissful ignorance, coming out of which we say, “I knew nothing. It was bliss. I am refreshed.”
We need a home base, a place that will take us in, no matter our fame or infamy.
My Guruji, in a discussion on the state of deep sleep, smilingly commented that “Hari OM” sounds a bit like “Hurry home.” OM is our home, and his play on words has stuck with me for its simple resonance in my practice. In our meditation challenge, breath awareness has been my home—the place I come back to, time and again, when my mind has wandered from mindfulness to distraction to obsession.
Come back to the breath. Begin again.
I’ve been tracking about half a week behind the structure of our 28-day program, holding onto the breath concentration meditations days after I was to have kicked off body-scanning; and remaining now in mindfulness of daily activities when I could have moved into practicing mindfulness of emotions. Each belated progression of the practice has opened up more “stuff” for me, putting into stark relief the fact that this is a progressive journey. Today’s sitting was certainly more difficult than my sitting on, say, Day 9, but today’s would have been nearly impossible, absent the efforts I’ve made thus far.
It’s not as easy as it was, or as difficult as it could be.
I always remember that I can go home, to the breath. And I do, with relish and relief.
May we all abide in that OM. Hurry home.