The third piece in our Ebb Tide series is written by Mo Henderson. It is a pertinent and welcomed reflection on how “not giving up in times of low ebb” in training, helps us to understand ourselves better.
Things change in daily life, nothing stays the same. Just as the sea drains away from the shore in its outgoing phase and then rises again as the water returns inward, meditation practice can reveal a natural cyclic flow.
I have at times been motivated and determined in my practice, with a real sense of learning and growth, during these times things are experienced as ‘flowing’ and all is feeling well. At other times I’ve felt a loss of momentum and motivation, those are the episodes I’ve found particularly challenging. I was inclined to push away what is actually happening, acting as if I could control or pretend it didn’t exist, as opposed to being with the way things actually were. At other times wallowing in the loss of things not going ‘my way’ and reverting back to old habits, which I now believe was due to needing to know something familiar, like a security blanket.
For me, not giving up in times of low ebb is important and realising it is part of a natural cycle. Indeed this realisation is encouraging because it means there will be a sense of movement and flow to rise again. Acceptance of how things are, keeping meditation practice alive by continuing with daily sitting and not relying on hoping motivation will return, is what I’ve found most helpful. Just keeping up the basics no matter what.
Like King Canut, who proved to his men he did not have the power to control the waves, I believe daily practice can help us learn to move with the natural cyclic rhythm of life. That, together with a vigilance and willingness to train, can be the bridge to ease the way.