I’m going to be extraordinarily clear here; I wasn’t much for meditation. For 29 years I chose a different route for my thoughts, and especially my emotions. I treated many thoughts, again, especially inconvenient emotions I didn’t find useful as “garbage”. Much the same as it’s said dreams are the brain’s way of taking out the garbage in the subconscious, I treated my conscious mind the same way.
It was very efficient and very safe. But there was a massive down-side to all of that efficiency and safety… and that is what meditation showed me I was missing.
Working with a friend and professional recovery counselor, he had me start looking into “centering prayer” made famous by a monk, Thomas Keating. Rather than throwing out uneasy emotions and thoughts, Pete had me start to look at them seriously. He asked me to start paying attention. What were my thoughts telling me? What thoughts were based in fear? How did that fear take shape in my life and in my interactions with my wife, kids and friends?
It took me two days to realize that I had entirely walled my heart off from everyone – something I lied to myself. I’d convinced myself it made me a better man, husband and father. I had lied to myself and the lie was so complete, when I started meditating with a purpose, I was aghast. The eye-opening event was profound and shocking.
I immediately took to rectifying this. I dissected every thought and emotion as it popped up during meditation sessions and even when a random thought would just pop up.
This is what led to the massive life changes that I’ve been writing about in my recovery these last two months. I remember the day I allowed myself to feel emotions again, vividly. I allowed to crumble all of the defenses I’d built up over the years – and I mean that literally, I could feel the walls crumble and fall away. It was shocking, horrifying and glorious all at the same time. With my wife, it almost felt like I was that young, awkward man and we were courting again.
My heart would skip a beat when she’d call. You know what it was? This just occurred to me as I was writing, it’s like I’d been dying of thirst and when the walls came down, the water that had just been a small trickle I’d let in to keep me alive, rushed in to fill the vacuum.
It took me a full month to wrap my head (and heart) around this event.
This wasn’t perfect, though. With those emotions came a lot of fear that I’d blocked off. Chief among those was, “how could my wife possibly have lived with me like this for 25 years”? It hurt me to my core. The next couple of weeks were tearful for me. As I realized how much better I should have been doing, as my heart filled with love and compassion for my wife and kids, I changed. God changed me.
When I started this walkabout two months ago, this is vastly better than what I’d hoped for. I am so impossibly head-over-heels in love with my wife, I can hardly contain it… and my wife changed with me. Her actions that led me to build my defenses completely stopped and turned 180 degrees. This isn’t to take the focus off me, where it belongs, but to say my wife, recognizing the massive good that could come from these changes, worked with me to come back.
Meditation has been amazing for me, and I will be attending to this function of “the program” much more regularly so I can keep growing and walking the path I’m on. I only thought I loved my wife and family a few months ago… or maybe to say, I loved them as best I could a few months ago. I’ve been opened to a whole new world I didn’t even know was there.
And it is beautiful.