Lisa Erickson, 5
Interview with Lisa Erickson
I'd like you to paint a picture if you will (in words) of the very close-to-home simple value that you experience in meditation. If you had to distill it, and get down to the core reason for why you meditate, what would you say that is? I know you are a teacher, and so you are called upon to describe it for students. I'd like you to take the time to look inside now and tell me why, as if you were looking at it for the first time. What is meditation for you? What is its value for you– just you. Describe what you discover through it for yourself only.
What I discover, over and over, is that I am light– that we are all light. That it is all OK. That at the heart of it all is peace– that the essence of each of us is a natural great peace. It is hard to put into words!– for me anyway. Whenever I am asked to answer a question like this, I wish I was more of a poet. I love poetry, especially the poetry of mystics throughout the age, because they can capture something– or rather, point to something– with words that I cannot do. It is really beyond words.
Humans have come up with a lot of words to describe it– every mystic, teacher, and spiritual author comes up with their own words for it. I always just come back to 'light'. And I've already said I'm not all that visual, in meditation anyway, so I don't really mean the kind of light we see with our eyes. This light is beyond the physical sense, and yet the heart of all experience, physical and otherwise.
That was beautiful and said it all. Your words are rich with what you mean. It is a simple statement to say that the heart of everything is peace, and yet there is so much to that. Hearing this can be extremely encouraging. Just a hint of it is enough to bring us back to meditation. Thank you so much for opening up and giving it a shot, because it is beautiful. It is by its very essence incapable of being put into words as you have said, but referring to it directly helps.
Everything else is simply the means to it, but these are the goods– or rather this is the good. There is so much love in your first paragraph– so much acceptance. Okay, I have one more question. Given that you discover over and over again that you are light, and that we are all peace AND that I find the same thing (though I may call it something different) and may find it by different means, what do you believe these means have in common? I hope you understand what I am asking.
Again, words are limited. Here it is in a different form: What is it that we actually do, those of us who speak of this peace and light– that makes the difference? What is the most essential requirement of a seeker, more than to simply be seeking? Whatever it is, I want to call it meditation– but that is just a name. What does this peace require of us in order to tap into it?
Integrity and surrender. I decided to just answer this question intuitively, and those are the two words that came immediately to mind. To me, integrity means always looking inward to our center for guidance when we are feeling lost– trying to connect with our inner compass. We may need external teachers and guides, but in the end, we come back to that center for our final guidance. I have been working a lot with mandalas lately, and they are all about the center-point.
We each have this center point, and staying in touch with that keeps us grounded and truthful as we seek, even in the midst of doubt, or mistakes, or whatever. And to me surrender is letting go. I think meditation, and the entire spiritual journey, is this delicate dance between self-control and letting go, will and surrender. And we get lots of support for self-control and discipline– we receive lots of messages about regular practice, watching our thoughts, taking control of our lives, creating the life that we want.
So that part of the message doesn't really need more support, at least not in our culture. But surrender gets less play. There comes a point when in order to know ourselves as something larger– not just intellectually, but to really KNOW– we have to surrender control. So integrity and surrender are really what are asked of us, I think. Is that really the last question? I'll answer more! You ask great questions. It's been a pleasure to be involved in this process.