Monday, 18 April 2011

Meditation - Heal or Harm?

I had a brief few words with a priest friend this morning about the emotive side of religious experience.  It seems we share a view of the best way to approach some of the most important "ceremonial" services in the Anglican liturgy.

Always a rather too emotional woman in many ways, I have found it best on most private and personal occasions where an issue at stake risks being swamped by emotion, to stand back if possible, and delay a reaction until such time as reason can be brought to bear on the subject.

Having decided to take part in the lenten meditation events each monday in St. M's I have found it overall a means of calming my chaotic thoughts and slowing down my more impulsive reactions to stressfull or controversial issues.

Meditation it seems has very different meanings to individual exponents of the process.  Some like to sit in silence for most of the time.  Some introduce a piece of scripture and reiterate parts of it until it imparts an almost hypnotic state in the participants.  Some play music, or show films, each having an individual approach which either chimes with one's own attitude or occasionally causes consternation.

Today, already in a fairly sombre mood from my earlier discussion about Holy Week and Maundy Thursday in particular, I found my thoughts so melancholy that the really rather lovely presentation of scripture, music and silence resulted in tears.

I never cry  in public if it can be avoided and rushed back to the quiet of the parish office (the church was particularly quiet today) had a brief howl, blew my nose and headed for the great outdoors.

Standing waiting for my bus I once again found tears threatening, and , desperate to avoid them, I started a conversation with a woman in front of me.  She, clearly in need of someone to offload onto poured out a tale of domestic woe, enough to make a hardened 'counsellor) cry.  So all in all, I was quite glad to get home and  take my depression out on a bit of polishing.

Sometimes I wonder whether navel contemplation is the best way to go for someone who has a somewhat mercurial temperament.


  1. I gave up trying to hold back tears a long time ago. I figure if you can't cry in church, where can you cry? So I say let 'em come.

  2. Yes Penny, I know you're right, it's just that if someone does happen to spot the tears, they usually want to know why.
    For me, a big part of the problem is not really knowing why or what exactly triggured the latest meltdown and I'd hate to be known as 'that woman' who is always crying. So the barriers have to stay in place.

  3. I'm with Penny on this, Ray. Find a hidden corner by all means if you can, but tears are healing and if you constantly try to hold them back, you're probably not doing yourself any favours. You don't have to give any explanations either, unless you want to. Just say you'll be OK in a minute and most people should respect this.

  4. I agree with the need to try and find some space or privacy for tears, but sometimes that doesn't work. As Perpetua says - tears are healing - and you don't have to give explanations. On occasion, I have just shaken my head and said thank you, but not now. But you didn't notice how your own experience led onto an encounter with a stranger that probably helped them more than you will ever know. Every Blessing

  5. Perpetua, Freda
    Thankyou both for your comments and advice. My natural inclination is to hide when tears threaten, maybe even at my time of life I can learn to do things differently.