In meditation one goes into an inner space, within oneself. It is not unlike the wardrobe in C.S.Lewis’s Narnia books which opens into another realm, that of Being itself. As Lao Tzu says, ‘In meditation go deep into the heart’.
When we begin to meditate we are setting out on the journey of a lifetime, what the actress Stephanie Cole in her autobiography, A Passionate Life, describes as ‘the long search to discover what I was born knowing, and forgot – the search for spiritual enlightenment’.
It is important to learn how to be alone. Research has shown that some development of the capacity to be alone is essential if the brain is to function at its best, and if we are to fulfil our potential. It is all too easy for us to become alienated from our own deepest needs and feelings. Maintaining contact with our own inner world is facilitated by our capacity to be alone.
By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive to what comes to the surface, whether positive or negative, we begin to understand what Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude:
When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.
‘Our real journey in life is interior,’ wrote Thomas Merton. ‘It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary for us to respond to that action.’