I just finished Alan Arkin's memoir "losing my mind" as I drove our kitten the 30 mile drive home from the veterinarian. A sentence at the end really struck with me, and that was when he expressed his upset to his therapist that things were still so hard after all the sessions and years of dissecting his life interactions and problems. His doctor looked at him and said, "Well,l never promised you a rose garden."
But Alan refused that answer. He had met people who had rose gardens of lives, that were happy, peaceful and radiated light. Why didn't he have that? He wanted that. Eventually he found meditation and peace, happiness and light entered his life. Funny enough, just like me when he started meditating (50 years ago) he told everyone and everything about it. I've slowly realized, like he did, that not everyone wants to, or is ready to meditate. You have to be at the right place, because it changes you, it changes your life, and if you aren't at a good place, or have a support system, you can go crazy, or fall out of your mind. but, in a good way. but you definitely need a support system.
someone today asked me about meditation, if anything has happened to me during meditation. I hesitated, but she felt like a safe place to share. so I slowly answered, "well...actually, yes. I've had a lot of stuff happen." beautiful things. wonderful insight. spiritual things. sacred things. each time something special and sacred happen, I guess it is like a little rose that grew up in my soul. and they start to add up. and then I have roses, so many beautiful roses in me at all times. enough to make an entire world of rose gardens.
I think now if someone asked about meditation, I would promise them rose gardens. but then I wouldn't, because if they went into meditation searching for something, they wouldn't find it. you can't go in with a purpose, you have to go in without expectations. you have to go in open, blank, ready...for anything.
As Alan Arkin said:
"Education does not mean jamming information into somebody's head. Rather, it's that ancient idea that all knowledge is within us; to teach is to help somebody pull it out of themselves."
When I really dove into meditation, 20 minutes a day, twice a day, I was at a breaking point. medication wasn't fixing anything. therapy wasn't fixing anything. all of the answers I searched out didn't fix anything. and the books I read about meditation didn't promise me rose gardens, they just said "do it." Meditation is a way to your true self. It will bring you peace of mind, and clarity, and sanity. So I dove in.
It's been over a year, and I can say I have more peace and happiness and light than I ever have had, and I when I found it, I realized these things were always inside me. Millions of rose gardens, just for me.
And I promise
there are rose gardens for you, waiting. There is peace, waiting. There is happiness waiting, you don't have to search anymore, you just have to sit still and listen.
*(I still recommend therapy for someone with a lot of past trauma, abuse and anxiety. but like mr. arkin states, "Therapy helps explain away all the identities you bought into about yourself. Meditation helps you see that your identity is greater than anyone can possibly conceive, including yourself." )