I quoted Sally Kempton a few weeks ago. Now I find myself doing it again. Her book is not one I can read voraciously, like an engrossing novel. Meditating For the Love of It has too many deeply nourishing passages that require slow digestion, careful rumination.
Here is a perfect example:
What allows us to relax into meditation, to make our effort without straining? Essentially, it is trust. First, we trust that the Self, the goal of meditation, is real and can be experienced. Second, we trust that we are connected to a greater power, a power that supports our meditation. and brings it to fruition. In nearly every spiritual tradition, that power is called “grace”–the cosmic force that awakens the heart to its own vastness and love. Grace is the energy that connects to the ultimate truth, to the source of our being, to what a friend of mine likes to call the “Godfield.” The masters of Kashmir Shaivism–an Indian tradition that sees all life as an expression of divine energy–point out that grace is an ever-present force in the universe, more pervasive than gravity (and infinitely more subtle). That means we can access it anywhere and at any time–in nature, in the presence of someone we love–by tuning in to the presence that opens up in moments of stillness and in countless other ways. Grace is inside us, after all, never distant. yet just as you need to tune the radio dial to catch the right station, or connect to a server to get online, you also need to intentionally invoke the particular forms of grace that directly enliven meditation. (p. 54-55)
I experienced grace today through a person who opened herself to me in such a trusting, loving way that I know we have already entered a lifelong friendship. There was an instant recognition of the divine energy within each of us. Independently, we had manifested this energy as an authentic search for meaning, understanding that it was a path to freedom. When you want to know why things happened, what part you played in them, what you can learn from them (as opposed to whom you can blame), then freedom is within your grasp. Meeting another person who acts and feels this way is like finding a sister or brother you never knew you had.
Oh, and we laughed a lot, too!