Honor Thy Inner Rebel

You never know where your spiritual part is hidden. Because this is meditation, and not the Army, your impulse to rebel against discipline is as important as your desire to change yourself for the better. You may have noticed in the past that when you try to get yourself to do a self-help program, you wind up tyrannizing yourself. Then you rebel against the tyranny. The rebel becomes a saboteur of your program because you left her out. The way through this is to embrace the rebel right from the start.

Welcoming the rebel may mean listening to the feeling, "I don’t want to meditate today,” and finding out what it wants. To honor such a feeling means taking it so seriously that you would be willing not to meditate, and watch TV instead, or watch the sunset. But you are also willing to enter the feeling, explore it, let it teach you. Welcome the rebellion, then listen to it. The rebel is there to make sure you do not become enslaved in an external system that takes away your inner authority, your inner freedom, or oppresses you in any way.

Meditating the rebel’s way may seem very strange. Once I was working with a schoolteacher, and she was getting restless, just a few minutes into the first session. I asked her, “What are your impulses?” She said, “I just want to be outside.” We went outside, and since we were on a mountain in northern New Mexico we could see vast horizons. She breathed a sigh of relief. It turns out that she prefers to be outside as much as possible, even in winter. She dresses warmly, and sits in the snow, and has a great time meditating. The rebel in her is her spiritual part. For another woman, her rebel insists she stay in bed and be cozy to meditate on certain days.

The rebel in you is probably more useful, smarter, and healthier than your impulse to practice meditation. Many people, when they imagine meditating, conceive of it as some sort of inner prison. Your inner rebel will immediately alert you if you start making up Odious Rules, such as, “You can’t think, you can’t feel, you can’t scratch if you itch. “ The rebel will have none of this. The way in which you rebel is your individuality.

So honor your inner rebel. As you do the meditations, be alert for the voice of skepticism in you, the voice that says, “Hey, wait a minute, this is bull!” The rebel looks out for your individuality. Invite it in, no matter how much trouble it seems.

As you read and explore meditation notice anything you hate or don’t want to do. Always take your own side. Be willing to hunt to find your own particular way.

Embrace All Parts of the Self

The greatest danger for meditators is deleting parts of the self. The parts of yourself that you snub and do not invite to the party can not give you their gifts. This is a danger in the sense that in so doing you limit your vitality and limit your range of expression. In the long run, this will mean that you either go through life as an overly peaceful meditator or you quit meditating because you have made it a kind of prison.

Think of meditation as a party you are giving for every aspect of your humanity, every aspect of the soul. Invite even the street people, the homeless, the witchy bitch, the cranky skeptic, though they seem incongruous. Maybe they stink and don’t know how to use the silverware, but feed them. When any quality is integrated, when it gets to rub shoulders with all the other parts of the self, it changes and is socialized. Each has a gift to give you.

Everyone has parts of themselves they have lost. A feeling tone you had when you were in college, maybe you were athletic or you sang in the shower a lot. The movie lover in you or the letter writer. The purpose of life is to get survival taken care of so you can get on with being as individualistic as you can get away with. Many men lose the lover in them when they hunker down to work long hours. In the process of gearing up to be successful, many people find that they lost the person inside who was capable of enjoying the success. If you continue meditating, you can be sure that the lost parts of you will come knocking at the door to be let in. They may appear as moods, images, memories or sensations in your body. Welcome them, even though you will most likely not know what they are at first.

from Meditation Made Easy