Why am I here in meditation group?  Some may say: “I don’t know for sure.  Just have a vague sense that I want to feel better.  Or I want to be connected.  Or I want to grow, to heal something.”

My answer would be that meditation is an opportunity to slow down.  I need to be slower, slower and slower yet until I am still.  In Sanskrit there is the word shamatha.  It means stopping, calming, resting.  And what’s the point of doing this?  The act of slowing, of stopping creates a portal, a door into myself as I really am right now. I slow down in order to notice myself within myself, to allow a witness to emerge.  This witness we encounter when meditating is not a judge.  This witness is curious, neutral, friendly.  This witness listens the way we might listen for a bird’s song when we are walking in the woods. We listen to see if we can identify the bird, to see if we can enjoy its song. We listen with delight and with reverence.

So I slow down and stop in order to look deeply and to hear what’s there, so as to understand.  The understanding I want is not intellectual, not the result of analysis.  It’s more of an “aha”, insight that is inseparable from compassion.  Thoughts, worries, plans, feelings of sadness or excitement, body sensations—-all can be surrounded by the energy that arises when I finally relax into my Self.  It’s an energy of understanding, compassion.  It’s the healing energy of love.