My small black heart

blackheartI know the goal of meditation is to find oneself suspended–if briefly–in puffs of nothingness. No words, no skittering chains of thoughts, no human entanglements. As a newcomer to regular meditation (for me, that means actually sitting 2-3 times a week when I absolutely can’t avoid myself any longer), those moments of “being” are few.

Mostly, I am waking to myself over and over to remember the tail-end of a thought stream very much like a dream. Then I focus on my breath … one, two, three …. only to wake moments later from another tangent. Many of these waking dreams include Sean. I know this because my centering breaths occur in a chest that is tight with longing and I have the sense of him having been near.

Yesterday, my meditation yielded something quite unexpected. As I settled into the gently muscled layers of consciousness, I suddenly found myself entering a small, gray chamber. It was like a tomb, with squared, windowless walls and I had the feeling of entering into a charcoal drawing–like Mary Poppins jumping into a sidewalk painting. Only this was not a jolly holiday. This was a sad room, maybe the saddest space I had ever entered.

On the ground in the center was a blackened, encausted lump that was pulsating slowly. And at the moment I saw it I had the thought: “Oh, that is my heart!” A wave of incredible sorrow and tenderness and compassion engulfed me. I suddenly understood that I had entered the very center of my human life. The reality of now.

And I cried for myself.

Later, as I mulled over this experience and its power, I realized something. Yes, I really had transcended my daily existence. I had stopped running long enough to stand with my broken heart. But there was more to it. There was an I and a Thou. The life in ruins, and the loving observer of that life.

I am both. And somewhere, in Sean’s shattered life, his soul is standing beside him too.