On emptying out your best ideas

It kills me every time…

I’m sitting there in contemplation emptying out my thoughts to god (you know, as ya do), and then it hits me: A great idea. I’m only five minutes into my meditation and suddenly, I’ve figured out that one thing I’ve been wrestling with for weeks.

And so, I break the ‘rule’. I pause my Insight Timer, get up, and write that brilliant idea down.

Then I sit back down, get back into position, itch my nose (always), fart (sorry, it happens), press the ‘play’ button on the timer, close my eyes, and get back in the zone.

Five more minutes go by and — BAM — I remember that one thing I keep forgetting to buy at the store. Mouthwash! Gaaah! So I pause the timer, get up, write that bad boy down, sit back down, scratch my nose, (no farting this time), press play, and get back in the zone.

I’ll stop there… 
You’re starting to see the cycle, right?

When we entertain our underlying frantic anxieties, they become more and more incessant.

Back to the ‘rule’… In centering prayer, the only requirement is to let go of each thought.

This is so hard — especially for someone who makes a living from ideas. Those things are like currency to me, yet there I am, consciously forgetting them! And I’m trying to make a habit of this?! What is this madness?!

Afterward, it never ceases to amaze me how, when/if I remember those ‘ideas’, they’re not so epic after all. And those things I needed to get at the store — they come back to me, hopefully, sooner than later.

But that’s not even the point… The thing I have to remember is,

The value (because we’re so big on ‘value’ out west) of this prayer isn’t to ‘get’ anything. It isn’t to increase my productivity or attract cash and prizes from my living room.

The gift of this prayer is to generously hand over my internal garbage to the divine moment after moment.

This is not the time to brainstorm. It’s a time to release my death grip on getting. To experience what it feels like to not have to be like they told me I needed to be like in school — productive, successful, or even smart — for just twenty short minutes.

Instead, my role in contemplation is to just… be. 
(What a strange concept.)

And so, as the ideas come, 
I’ll continue sitting there as they fly away,
Squirming like crazy (and apparently, very gassy),
Empty,
But with everything I need.

P.S. For a great resource on centering prayer, here’s a PDF that I use that’s fantastic.

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