The Internal Made External

Lately, when the girls begin their hour of TV watching, I’ve been able to sneak upstairs and sit in meditation. Today, two obstacles made me smile.
First, the cat was in the bedroom. Worried that he’d start to climb on me once I settled in, I tried to snag him and shut him out. He was smarter than that, though. Every time I thought I’d gotten him, he darted away into the closet or under the bed. What a metaphor for the process that happens in meditation: you can’t make things happen. I gave up trying, shut the door, and sat down. He was quiet.
Then, after five minutes or so, my kindergartener, Vivian, burst into the room. “I want to do what you’re doing,” she declared as she plopped to the floor, resting her hands palms-up on her lap. That lasted about ten seconds, after which she moved restlessly around the room, making noise. She climbed to the bed. She rustled through my jewelry. She tapped my hip.
I asked her to sit on the pillow with me, back to back. (It’s a wonderful buckwheat-filled zafu Hugger Mugger sent when we filmed the DVD, very supportive, with room for one adult and one child.)
“Try being quiet until the timer goes off,” I suggested, pointing to my iPhone (in airport mode, it makes a great timer).
“I’ll play with it quietly,” she promised, and we sat with our backs together. Her warm head settled into the part of my back that causes me great discomfort as I sit, and I breathed as she made slight clacking noises with the phone.
After a few minutes, the harp sound signaled “time’s up.” She laid the phone on the floor. The picture of Wes and the girls I’d been using as a backdrop had been changed to Vivi’s favorite: the lotus.