September 29, 2009
In the crypt
On a rainy day at the monastery, I go down into the crypt to meditate. A long stone staircase with a simple wooden railing leads the way down. Stained glass widows let multi-coloured light, but the crypt is mostly dim. Votive candles cast a flickering light on a fourteenth century stone statue of Mary as a young woman.
Most of the time, I’m alone in the crypt. I’ll take a few minutes to check the votive candles. If any have burned out, I’ll take the empty glass jars into the storage room, putting them back into the brown cardboard boxes. If the table near the entrance doesn’t have many new candles on it, I’ll carry out a box and arrange them neatly. I like doing simple tasks at the monastery: that way, I feel part of the community.
Then I sit cross-legged on the stone floor, close enough to feel the warmth from the candles. That’s my favourite place to just relax and think. I light candles sometimes, and move around the candles that are already there, just to feel the warmth in my hands and to hear the sound glass makes as it rubs against stone.
When it’s time to meditate, I close my eyes. I do what some call a surrender meditation. If I catch myself thinking, I let the thought go. That’s pretty much it. It sounds simple, but twenty minutes of meditation can be fairly intense. Afterwards, I warm my hands on a candle again, and just sit with the fire, allowing all the familiar thoughts to crowd back into my brain.
Posted by jo(e)