Meditation and other contemplative practices seem to accelerate the aging-gracefully gradient. They are ways of thinning out in the prime of life – a kind of dying in the midst of the everyday. Then when death does come, as it comes for us all, there’s nothing to fear, “for the things we’ve learned to care for will continue.”
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What is a “breakthrough?” It’s a jump to higher level of insight and perspective. This looks different depending on the person. For some it’s an insight into a dysfunctional pattern or relationship. For others, a renewed sense of vigor and direction. For others still, a glimpse into who they are at what feels like a deeper level.
What she showed me – and for me she is a she – is I am not alone in this process. My reality is co-created – with her when she is with me, with the other participants in the room, with the shamans and their icaros and the whole ecology of natural presences teeming in the space around us.
The meditation scene is littered with “spiritual bypassers” who shoot for transcendence because they can’t handle the world – and the self – they’ve inherited. This isn’t a judgement; people are in pain, and meditation can help with that pain. But it’s important to remember that some of the issues we uncover in practice can’t be healed by meditation only.