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Lions Roar : September 2013
happy their needs were met. I hoped my own need to be steadier with my medita- tion schedule would be met as well. As the retreat continued, I realized that time was a false issue. The struggle is really about something else. Typically, one part of us wants to meditate and another part wants another thing. In my case: to head straight for the breakfast bowl. When I fell in love with my husband, I was not divided about my goal to spend time with him. And I’ve never heard any- one else complain, “Gee, I just can’t find the time to be in love.” So I decided that perhaps sitting could be viewed as fall- ing in love with wakefulness. I liked the idea. Once a day or more I could give over my time and attention to just that: me, awake. The problem was in the unconscious messages to myself that suggested I should be doing something other than meditating. Our culture supports “doing,” not “being.” Like many of us, I came from a tradition in which meditating was an alien act that suggested rejection of the religion of my family and society. Even now, decades after our country has been introduced to meditation, too little is understood about it. As a meditator, I have been charged with everything from seeking escape to worshipping elephants. When you’re in the minority, it takes an extra push to step over the bump of being different. This is the value of communities and group retreats. In the end, I decided it would be a good idea to examine my personal issues regarding time. A couple of hooks rose right away. One, I was a dreamer as a child—I still am, although I get to call myself a novelist now—so I was often caught staring out windows and repri- manded by teachers for “wasting time.” Another was a phrase my father often used to hurry me along as I was growing up. “Time is money,” he’d say. Well, it’s not. And I’ll have to work with that. During our final sit on the last day of retreat, I wished for each of us to find our way out of this struggle with time and, as with falling in love, view our sitting prac- tice as one of the great joys of life. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 20