I am having my bedroom painted over the holiday break. Yesterday, I took all of the pictures off of the walls, moved most of the other furniture into other rooms, and rolled up the rugs in the hallways. The room is in the middle of the plastering and sanding stage and is filled with the painter’s tools, and so, the door is shut.
Becky only has two places she likes to be for most of the day: on the bed in the bedroom and on the sofa in the living room. When I meditate in the morning and then write in my journal, I sit in the living room. I used to try to sit in the yoga studio, but after her sister passed away, Becky howled until I sat in the living room with her. Becky now will fetch me to the living room if I do not go to meditate right after I have fed her. This morning, she woke me up early because the bed was not in the right place, and she was not happy that the bedroom door was closed. When I went to sit after feeding her, she stomped back and forth, instead of coming to sit with me. When at first I did not pay attention to her, she got more agitated. I finally got up to check on her. She raced up the stairs to be outside the shut bedroom door. I picked her up and brought her back to the living room to sit with me. I pet her until she relaxed. Once she had been shown that her morning sitting place was still there, I was able to sit in meditation without disturbance for 25 minutes.
Our own minds are like that. If there has been a disturbance in our routine that ripples our mind waves, whether it is celebration or upset, small or large, it can feel very challenging to meditate. If our thoughts continue to be in a whirl while we are sitting, we need to just bring our thoughts back to the mind space of meditation over and over again, just as I had to remind Becky our sitting place was still undisturbed even though her daytime sleep spot was disrupted. The more we practice, the easier it becomes to shift to an inner place of peace and light. The less often we allow changes in routine to disrupt our practice, the stronger we become in the face of challenges.