Marilyn Briant is the author of The Pax Principles - a Red Ribbon Winner 2020, in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (UK)
There have been times when I am meditating that my mind wanders. I start thinking about stuff that needs attention, or look back over my life reviewing things I have said and done. Then I move on to contemplating what I have learned from various challenges and situations.
And even as my mind focuses on this, I find myself questioning whether what I am doing is a distraction. After all isn’t meditation all about clearing my mind and not thinking about anything? But eventually I realize that I do not want rules or inflexibility in my quiet time. I want to accept what comes.
I want to be thankful for the awareness I gain. To appreciate the insight that comes from reviewing where I have been and where I am now. To understand that by reflecting on those things I did in the spirit of love, there is the possibility that something else will surface—an awareness of those moments when I didn’t come from my heart—occasions when I didn’t do things in the spirit of love.
And I want to be gentle with myself. To recognize how much I have changed. That I do not need to compare the person I was, with the person I am now.
Focusing on What I’ve Learned
I simply want to acknowledge that what has come from my inward—my spiritual—journey is a way of living differently. In the past I wanted to hold back from letting love in. I did not understand the importance of loving myself. I found it difficult to truly live in the moment. I didn’t know how good it feels to say or do just about anything, in the spirit of love. I did what I thought I should do. I did what was expected of me. And I often resented the obligation!
Perhaps this is true for all of us. We go through the motions of living, not truly living. We do what we feel we must do, not what we want to do.
But then we make a connection with our soul-selves, and we are able to truly come from love. We recognize the difference immediately. It feels good. There is no sense of obligation. Instead, our head and heart are aligned, and it feels like the spirit of love is guiding our words and actions.
A Little Story
There is a little story I remember reading several years ago. It was about a child growing up, spending time in her grandmother's kitchen, watching her cook the most delicious meals. And every time she prepared each dish, grandma would reach into a jar beside the stove and add a pinch of the special ingredient. “This,” she told her granddaughter, “is what makes every meal taste so good!”
When her grandmother died, the now grown woman found herself in her grandmother’s kitchen going over all the wonderful recipes she had left for her. Spotting the jar, still there by the stove, she was overcome with curiosity. She lifted the lid on the jar and peeked inside. And what she found was…absolutely nothing! It took just a few moments before she realized that the only special ingredient had been love. That all those meals had been prepared in the spirit of love. That was what made them so wonderful!
What I’ve Done In The Spirit of Love
It was a beautiful little story that brought to mind a few of the things I did in the spirit of love. There was the time I searched for ages, in so many shops, before I found the “right” red sweater my elderly dad had told me he wanted. His eyes lit up when he unwrapped it the Christmas before he died. There were the three cold and rainy weeks I happily spent in England doing laundry, food shopping and making meals for my son and daughter-in law after my granddaughter was born. And there was the day I so appreciated her cheerful service that I gave a waitress a $20 tip for a $17 meal.
It also reminded me of all those times I was on the receiving end of words or actions that were said or done in the spirit of love. Of all those sweet, gentle souls who reached out to me in kindness and in the spirit of love. Who gave of their time and showed me they cared.
Yes, the opportunity to live with the spirit of love is always present. Just recently, as I was intent on getting a task accomplished, I was interrupted by a phone call from my son who wanted to Skype. The chore didn’t get done. Instead, I talked and laughed with my son, granddaughter, and grandson in England, about nothing in particular.
It was wonderful—one time among many others that I will forever cherish. A time when I chose to ignore the needs in my life and do something else—live in the moment. It was a reminder that I want always and in all ways, to live my life in the spirit of love.