The other day, consoling a struggling Ilana, I fought off a part of me that said, as per usual, "Do something!"
It didn't say this directly, it said it via the ideas and judgments and assessments that flooded my mind, facing the space of her sadness. They take the common critic line of things like:
-you should have done something to prevent this
-she should have done something to prevent this
-she is going to feel this way forever
-you need to get her out of this...
When, if, I follow these and more, I am "doing something". But it is often the something she does not need. She needs something, but she needs space. Warmth. Trust. Holding. Silence without recrimination, even if it is me simply judging myself.
Meditation is like this for me, too, like it is for so many people. Though I have plenty of personal and direct evidence with some fifteen years of sitting that it is "not doing nothing", I still believe that's the case at times.
How do I know that? Because thoughts flood my mind and I follow them pretty far before dropping them and coming back to the space of now. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with thoughts. But on the frequent occasions where my meditation is more focusing on thinking than letting it co-exist with space, I get evidence of how little I trust yet that meditation is in fact doing something.
Even that practice, just seeing how much I am not trusting space, that it is something and not nothing, is worth it. I know that. No judgments here. Just curiousity about the beliefs that underlie my relationship to doing and being.
I know that it takes a lot of space to even see how I struggle with space. And still, even writing this, part of me wants to say: "Wrap it up with wisdom. Fix it."
And I refuse. I refuse to do that to you or to me. Instead I will do a something that seems like nothing: I will leave this contemplation open-ended, knowing I will return to it again and again, and hoping you will, too.