Monday, September 15, 2014

Practice meditation

One of the steps of Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path is to practice meditation.  Having taught religions of the world at Chattanooga State Community College for nearly a decade, I'm aware of that as I learn to meditate with a group of people from my new church.  And then I ran across this section (from page 38) as I was reading a book I recently bought from the library book sale.  The narrator was in China to adopt a baby girl and was traveling in a small group of families.
As the group moves through the site, I keep thinking of the people just arrested outside the Forbidden City.  They were arrested for meditating.  Actually, they were arrested for being members of a group deemed a "cult" by the Chinese government, as most religions have been. ...

Just yesterday I meditated in the shadow of the Great Wall of China, and today I will do so within the walls of the Forbidden City.  I will practice with a delicious sense of subversion, knowing that no one can stop me, and in a spirit of solidarity with those just arrested.  I do not close my eyes as I usually do, to remain unobtrusive, and yet a young man in military uniform stops talking with his comrades and watches me as I stand away from the group, looking out over the courtyard.  Something about me has alerted his attention, but as I am doing nothing that can be deemed inappropriate, he loses interest and begins talking again with his friends.

As my breath slows and my focus of attention shifts from the outer world to the inner world, I can still see everything that surrounds me, but also, at the same time, can see with my inner vision.  Never before have I experienced this, to be fully aware of the external world simultaneously, without effort.  Perhaps it is this place, I think, this void, that produces a type of heightened perception...
How odd that people can be arrested for meditating.  And yet it's something that Buddhists and Christians and people of other religions and no religions do.  This is something else I need to erase from my mind when I breathe deeply and relax into meditation.

Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother's Journey to Adoption in China ~ by Beth Nonte Russell, 2007, memoir (China)
Steeped in Chinese culture, Forever Lily is an extraordinary account of a life-changing, wholly unexpected love.

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

Meditation is such a wonderful and calming thing and practiced by so many for a myriad of reasons. Learning to calm ourselves down in today's busy lives has got to be a good thing.

The book also looks so interesting as I have a number of friends who adopted from China