I went, as I usually do, to my meditation group this morning. I didn’t have a great start to the day: I woke abruptly at the height of nightmare, sweating and gasping for breath and unable to shake that sense of malise drawn from a nocturnal narrative I could not remember in those first seconds after waking, but which lingered for much of the morning. But I wanted to go to meditation group, and I’m sick of basing my valued actions on the limitations sometimes placed upon me by PTSD, so off I went to meditation group.
It was hard – today was harder than most days are, to be honest. And the small, vibrant Catholic sister who runs the group said something, right at the very beginning, which completely threw me. It probably would have thrown me even if I’d been riding an even keel today. To begin the group, to call our attention downwards and inwards and outwards to the God in which we dwell, she said, “Let us do what we do best: sit and be: be ourselves”.
My immediate and slightly misunderstanding reaction: No, that’s not what I do best! I can’t meditate, I’m useless at meditating, I keep going off topic and thinking about how my feet are cold and I really should have brought socks, and I’m sure I’m doing it wrong and I just can’t get myself together and now it’s supposed to be the thing I do best at, what does that say about everything else I do when I’m so utterly shit at the thing I’m supposed to be best at…etc, etc, etc. Panic, panic, panic. Stupid brain.
My second thought was only slightly more reassuring: Actually, she doesn’t mean that meditation is the thing I do best. She means that being is the thing I do best. Being myself. Being my self. Being me. What? No! I’m not good at being, I’m rubbish at being! I’m good at doing, that’s what I do, I do things, I’m competent, I’m not good at being!
Again with: stupid brain.
I rarely stop, so I haven’t had much practise at being rather than doing, and I haven’t had much experience in feeling that just being is enough. The idea that my value comes simply from who and what I am, as opposed to what I do, is slightly foreign to me. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Somehow, my value to the Sacred Creator is not based on my job, or how well I sing, or whether my flat is tidy, or how neat my handwriting is or even if I write my self-allocated minimum word-count for the day. Somehow, my value to the Sacred Creator, the Source of my whole life, is simply that I am.
It’s kind of a big thing to get my head around. And my feet really were cold. I really should have brought socks.