I’m leading an event tomorrow. I’m equal parts excited and nervous.
I’m going to lead a meditation on the south lawn of the Nelson Museum. I’m going to give a little guidance and then we’re going to sit and meditate together. This is about taking practice out into the world instead of keeping it hidden. It’s about bringing some positivity and awareness into the world. Too often we see the world (and each other) as isolated and indifferent instead of connected and open hearted. Let’s see if we can work on that.
It’s Meditation Day and several other cities are hosting events like this. This event (and others) will be live-streamed on The Tattooed Buddha. So you should go “like” that page on Facebook.
Some would argue that, when leading an event like this, the best thing to do is to pretend to completely confident. Act like you believe everything will work out great. Don’t show a single sign of weakness.
That’s not how I do things. I am not the confident teacher who sits above you on a throne, who you can look up to. And I don’t want to be that. I’m the teacher who’s down on the floor with you and struggles with a lot of the same crap.
I think, as a teacher, I want to be completely open and I don’t want to fake anything. To me the Buddhist path is all about becoming more and more open and genuine and showing that as completely as I can.
So, I’m here to tell you that I’m nervous.
I find myself asking myself silly questions like:
“What if it rains?” (the weather forecast says it won’t)
“What if no one comes?”
“What if I don’t do a good job?”
I’m carrying these questions around with me and they’re stealing a little bit of my joy.
How often do we carry negative “What if” questions that steal our joy?
“What if I don’t get a promotion at work?”
“What if I’m messing up my kids?”
“What if I’m not really loved?”
We struggle with questions like these all time. Some of us struggle a lot. Some of us struggle only a little. It’s a part of human life and it seems inescapable. But I have a larger point. What we’re trying to do in our meditation practice is to learn how to put down some of the questions we’re carrying.
There might be questions that are good, “What if I’m too tired to drive?”, and these questions are very useful. I don’t want to say all questions are bad, that’s certainly not the case. But these questions I’m asking myself about this event tomorrow are useless.
What if no one comes? Well, I’ll still be live streaming the meditation and thousands of people will watch it.
What if it rains? Then we’ll go inside.
What if I don’t do a good job? Well, it’s not about me. It’s about the practice. And the practice is good.
I can answer all those questions but that doesn’t make them disappear. There’s still a low level anxiety that’s going to have an impact on me.
The questions are a little softer, a little less loud.
Once in a while someone asks me why I don’t do more public events like this. It’s mainly because I’m asking myself questions like those above. And sometimes the baggage is hard to put down.
Sometimes it’s about putting down our baggage. Sometimes the best we can do is figure out how to make our baggage a little lighter.
here’s what the event looked like last year:
We are going to meet up on the south lawn of the Nelson Museum for some public meditation. I’ll give a very short talk and then a bit of guidance and we will sit together.
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