The readings from Mother Teresa this month have really inspired me, I hope they have done the same for you. Most of my inspirational readings have come from Andrew Harvey's retelling of stories of Mother Teresa and other historical figures that are recognized as great humanitarians, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. In Mr. Harvey's book, "The Hope", he writes about many leaders, some of whom he has spoken with directly, and relates to the reader the commonality among these noble beings. They all pointed to the same activity that offers, or offered, them strength and inspiration- spending time every day praying and meditating with the god aligned with their beliefs . It is in this communion they are filled and fortified with the juice that keeps them going in the difficult work that they do. This is a quote from "The Hope" from Marion Woodman, a pioneer of the Divine Feminine (pg 133); "Continuing to do sacred work in a world as crazy and painful as ours without constantly grounding yourself in a scared practice would be like running into a forest fire dressed only in a paper tutu".
If you have had the benefits of meditation and prayer proven to you and believe in its power, and you are not able to be consistent in a practice, the question to ask is simple- Why not? What is it that is pulling your attention away from doing the thing that you know brings harmony to not only your life but the life of others? Only asking the question very directly will bring you the answer, and empower you to engage in the actions needed to do what you know works. It is not uncommon to be confused by your own resistance.
If you are not engaged with some sort of quiet contemplation and self-care, what is holding you back? Mr. Harvey encourages those interested in being Sacred Activists to be active in caring for their bodies, making them strong containers, and filling them with the energy that comes from meditating and/or praying. It is only a healthy, fit body that can be a suitable container to hold high levels of consciousness.
On a practical level what does this mean for those of us who may not go as far as Sacred Activism? Maybe you just want a peaceful Thanksgiving, with minimal drama. Or you find that you want to begin to respond differently, rather than react in the same old way. Consider this - if you are unwilling to "fill" yourself, unwilling to attend to your own body, how can you expect to be able to do the same for someone else? And why expect someone else to do for you what you are not willing to do for yourself? Yes, it seems selfish to sit in meditation or quiet contemplation, it seems like an extravagance, and at times it seems like it is not working. Yes, it's difficult! Yes, you might convince yourself you have many more important things to do, but do those things ultimately offer you true contentment? Look at what others have accomplished, and imitate them. They have already invented the wheel, you can just borrow the blueprints.
If you were to approach this scientifically, and you want to see change in this world (or just in your family, or at work) you know a catalyst has to introduced. You would then look to see where change has been accomplished historically by others, and you would try to replicate what they did to get the same results. (You don't have to choose something as dramatic as moving civil rights forward in the US and South Africa, or Indian Independence.) Look towards the others who have done great work and do what they did. Imitate what you admire and you will become that. Be bold, be the catalyst, and see what follows. Be consistent, because as Rumi wrote "Prayer is not just for the set times of kneeling and bowing; the real challenge of prayer is to prolong that state of absorption always, to keep the heart in a constant fire of adoration, whether you are asleep or awake, writing or reading..."
If you already have practices, such as meditation, tremoring, asana, try to be consistent, starting today, and see how it affects your holiday this coming week and in the weeks ahead. If you don't have anything to work with, download the meditation to follow along with. See what happens! And please let me know the outcome.