To meditate, I go first to my meditation cave. That sounds pretty official, but actually, it's just the inside of my clothes closet. If I shut the door to my bedroom and then the door to my closet, I am double doors away from kids, cats, telephones, and computers. I sit on the floor, my back against the wall, shirts brushing against the top of my head. I breathe in the smell of freshly laundered cotton and leather shoes. The darkness hugs me.
At first, I find myself chomping on thoughts — the salty bits, the sweet morsels, the spicy spiraling thoughts that smell so tempting. I keep grabbing one without even realizing it. One minute I'll be sinking into meditation and the next moment I'll be saying to myself, "I can't believe he said that!" It's difficult to push those thoughts aside, leave them lying in the air. And below the thoughts are layers of feelings, boxes and bins of anger and sadness and frustration, the feelings that tend to sink below the happier thoughts that I live with daily. The little clothes closet quite fills up with thoughts and feelings, all swirling about in the darkness.
Some days, I am able to push the swirling aside and sink into stillness, allowing myself to separate from all the chaos and find a place where I can simply be. Some days the closet around me — the sneakers, the shelf of jeans, the hanging dress shirts — disappears. Sometimes I can move into a place where I can listen to a power greater than myself. Other days, the jangling thoughts are just too loud: I feel successful if I can just get them to quiet a little.
So I'd be lying it I said that I stepped out of the closet with profound spiritual insights, with nuggets of great wisdom. Mostly, I don't. And often I'm angry at myself for letting thoughts intrude. Always, it's a struggle to achieve anything that even approximates meditation. And yet, something is happening, something that keeps me at this practice.
I can feel it. Even though I'm sitting still the whole time, I am twisting and turning, rubbing against rock. My skin turns translucent and peels away. I am shedding.