Don’t Give Up

Interlude: Without Words, by Lynn Yew Evers

It’s good to see you all here today. So many familiar faces — I know you’re meditating here regularly. Do you meditate at home as well? Are you still looking for a time and place that works? Or did you have something that worked, but not anymore? Don’t give up.

Let me tell you a story about perseverance and patience. When my husband and I got engaged all those years ago, we were successful, independent people. Both of us had been only children, and now we were all grown up, used to having our own way, making our own decisions. Naively, I thought that I would be making most of the choices for our wedding — like so many brides before me — but no… Andy was interested in pretty much everything. Basically, all I got to choose was what I was wearing!

Now, do you know how many decisions are made when planning a wedding? Can you imagine, making all of those decisions with someone else? I’d find something I really liked, and he wouldn’t like it. Then he’d find something, and I wouldn’t like it. We decided up front, there would be no compromising — if we didn’t find something we both liked, we’d keep looking. We had 13 months to plan. We had time.

Funny thing is, that crucible of decision-making was a terrific experience. We learned to respect each other’s opinions, and we learned to have patience. The right choice — something we both really liked — would eventually show up. By the time we said those vows, we were no longer so invested in “what I want”, and we had faith that “what we want” would always present itself.

Finding time to meditate outside of this beautiful space and appointed time can be a challenge, too. A time that works for you doesn’t work for the rest of the family. Space that was working just fine doesn’t work now, because of houseguests. Your favorite position doesn’t work now, because of mobility or flexibility or health issues that weren’t a problem before. Ready to give up?

John Main has encountered problems, too — and he has advice for us. This excerpt from Being on the Way [excerpted on page 274 of Silence and Stillness in Every Season: Daily Readings with John Main] has certainly spoken to me, especially this year:

‘I think it is much more difficult to meditate when you are tired, when you haven’t a great deal of physical energy. I certainly found, a couple of years ago when I was in hospital recovering from an operation, that particularly when I was very weak just after the operation, I would say the mantra maybe a couple of times and then I would be in a very deep and reposeful state of sleep. When I would wake up I would say it another couple of times and be asleep again. But I think that we have to be very careful that we do not rate ourselves for success. I think you have to do the very best you can in the circumstances that you are in. For example, ideally it is useful to meditate in a very quiet place so that you can be as recollected as possible. Even if your next-door neighbour starts using a steam hammer and recollection is lost, it is far preferable to keep on meditating rather than to say, ‘Well, I haven’t got the ideal circumstances therefore I will give up.’

So if finding a good time and place for meditation at home is a challenge, don’t give up. The right answer will present itself. And if what used to be right doesn’t work anymore, or doesn’t work right now, keep on meditating. Do what you can. Don’t give up.

As Paul reminds us in Galations [6:9]: “[So] let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

Delivered at La Selva Beach Community Church, May 2, 2017.