Just Keep Swimming

Interlude: Big Enough, by Chris Rice

I can remember when I was in my teens and twenties, really looking forward to having grey hair.   Then I would command some respect!  Well, I have the grey now, and I do like the way it looks — with some help from my hairdresser — but I wasn’t really thinking about everything else that was going to give out, besides the melanin in my scalp.

Nope, I’m not as young as I once was. Nowadays, it takes longer than it used to, to recover from injuries, or from overdoing it.  I’ll be fine, go to the gym for a few weeks, kayak down in the slough for a few months, and then I’ll hurt something. A knee, or my back, or a shoulder.  I have to modify the workout, go on nature walks instead of paddling, or just rest up.  Then, slowly, slowly, I get back into the routine.  

I’m motivated.  I want to be an active mother to my teenage daughter.   Kayaking on the slough is like a magic happy pill, with all the fascinating wildlife, and endorphins from the exercise. Maybe one day, I’ll even pass the self-rescue class. But still, it takes effort to keep going. I start over, again and again and again.

Meditation is like exercise, that way.  I’m motivated.  I need a break from my busy life, and hanging out with God helps me in so many ways.  But it takes effort.  Keep saying my mantra.  Focus on the breath. And when I’m distracted, just start again.  And again.  And again.

Coming to this prayer group encourages me.  Just like the trainers and other members at the gym, we’re all on this meditation journey together.  We help each other with advice, and just by being here, sharing the silence together.

I’ve been reading a book of John Main’s writing, recommended by Tom.  Main is encouraging, too, and has this to say about starting again:

People often ask, ‘I don’t seem to be making any progress in my meditation.  What should I do about it?”  Perhaps the most important progress we have to make in our meditation is to abandon the idea of making progress.  We have to understand that we are always beginning.  Every time we sit down to meditate we begin again.  Every meditation is a setting out, a re-setting out, and because it is a re-setting out it always remains fresh, always a further entry into the mystery which is infinite, inexhaustible.  It is important to understand that although we do speak of meditation as a journey, it is an unusual journey, because it is a pilgrimage to where we are.  It is a return to our roots, to our rootedness. It is a pilgrimage to the only place where we can really be, that is where we are.  Meditation, as you all know, is a focusing of our attention into the now.  It is becoming wholly present to the now, to the now of what is.  

These are encouraging words.

And remember what that blue tang Dory says, in Finding Nemo? “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!”

Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on August 27, 2016.