Each weekday morning, according to my habit, I wake before the rest of the household, quietly dress and slip on a long Morrocan djellaba, and seat myself cross legged and hooded on a sofa. A lit candle casts some friendly light, and very quiet music helps to dull the noise of delivery vans arriving at the local shops.
For around half an hour I sit in quiet meditation, sometimes it’s great, at others I have to struggle not to feel frustrated at my inability even at an early hour to keep from engaging with all kinds of thoughts. In our society we are so over stimulated, by electronic devices, pictures, sounds and who knows what else, that our minds are working overtime just trying to process all the information.
This morning I wasn’t doing well – not particularly because of overstimulation actually, more because of the snow. All I could think of was snow, and wanting to go out in it, look out the windows at it, and wake up the rest of the family to see it.
But then at seven o’clock the door to the living room opened, and a little figure appeared, wrapped in a hooded dressing gown. Silently she shuffled over to me, and climbed up on to my lap and sat there. She muttered something fairly unimportant about the day, and continued to sit quietly on my crossed leg-lap for a few minutes more. Then at some point which we both knew had come, but went unspoken between us, she clambered off me, blew out my candle, and asked for breakfast. The warmth and closeness we had shared for a couple of minutes, were enough to remind each of us of our mutual love, my fatherhood of her, and the importance of being a child able to sit on her dad’s lap.
This, I thought, is a good picture of why even my rather feeble attempts at meditation are important. So I turned off the music, and went to make the porridge.