“Wouldn’t you like to be the master of yourself?” I will never forget the way my heart jumped when I heard shifu say that in our introduction to meditation class many years ago. That was exactly what I wanted. At that point in my life, I was walking around with much anger and frustration with everything.
Meditation taught me to give myself permission to be comfortable in stillness: simple quiet awareness. By noticing what has come to visit, I no longer feel overwhelmed by emotions. Today, there may be sadness. Some days, there is fear. I see my old friend anger as well. Now, I gently make room for all the uncomfortable parts of myself instead of fighting to push them away. As I breathe with them, I notice when they start to fade as my body relaxes. I no longer feel I am at war with my thoughts as I sit and quiet my mind. Instead, I feel freedom and a deeper sense of calm. I know that inevitably there will be challenges that arise in my life, but now that I have tasted true peace, I have a deep faith in the power of the breath–and myself. I may not be a master yet, but with the practice I know that I am on the right path.