I meditate every day now, and have been doing so for a couple of years.
I have no religious impulse to do this, although, of course, any meditation practice is rooted in the psychologies of Buddhism and Hinduism.
I’m not a Buddhist or a Hindu, but I’m also not staring greedily at the spiritual Pick and Mix counter. My teachers are eclectic, but, I hope, not superficial. Many are dead, like my father, many are fictitious, like the Little Prince. Some have millennia of scholarship and institutional power behind them, like Buddha and Jesus; some are individuals who have cradled me, like Elisabeth, my wife.
Some have been religious teachers, like Norman Renshaw, the Baptist Minister in our church in Leicester, or Douglas Harding, the spiritual teacher who opened my eyes to Eastern mysticism at University, or Keizan Sensei, my Zen teacher in Liverpool.
All the people I have met have taught me something.
Meditation gives me Time. While I am just sitting there, I am holding Time and looking at it from many different angles, and I am looking at myself caught in that parcel of time.
I am almost detached from myself. While I am meditating I am not disabled, and I am not blind. It’s liberating to watch myself from the world around me, to see the thoughts and memories and fantasies strut across the stage of my mind with no desire to hold on to them or to run away from them.
My meditations are remarkably visual. They are visions for the blind!
Sometimes, I’ll sit on a log or a bench in the woods and lose myself in the patterns of dead leaves on the ground. Their “leaf-ness” is not clear to my sight, so they become colours and patterns. At other times I will look at the trees themselves, and concentrate on the movement of a branch or the writhing shape of the trunk.
For blind people who have a little sight, the world is full of pattern. I watch the sky. Even if I can’t see the ever-changing clouds, I can see the slow brightening or dimming of the
day, or textures and patterns in a grey sky.
As I walk along the path or the road, I see mottled patterns moving under me, and as I stare at a stone or brick wall, I explore the swirls and irregularities. Even on a blank wall, I can see floaters in my misty eyes, or images, perhaps, from the back of my brain.
A sandy beach is a kaleidoscope of colour; and a lake is a quivering, rippling mirror of sky patterns.
What I love about this, is that I don’t have to worry about it and I’m not going to trip over it. It is my private cinema, that I share with everyone on the planet.