Tears of Meditation

Do me a favor. Stop whatever you’re doing. Turn off the television or the stereo or the other YouTube window you’ve got open.

There – are we sitting in quiet? Do you have a few minutes to focus? Then go ahead and press play so that bearded guy can give us some music. His name is Arvo Pärt, and he wrote this music. It is one of the few pieces in the world that can bring me to tears on its own, no matter what else is going on in my life. Because of that I don’t play it very often. Some nights, though, demand this kind of contemplation, and you give in and let it happen, because there is nothing else to do. When the heart is at its most broken is the exact moment when the healing begins. You set everything else aside, and inhabit that moment. You inhabit the stillness, the space between the notes of a piano, the plaintive moan of a violin – and you let it all go.

It is music for meditation, and sometimes meditation makes you cry. The simple clearing of one’s head can be such a jarring, startling relief, the only way to cope is to heave out torrents of tears. And sometimes just a few silent ones will suffice. Wipe them away, and I promise not to say anything. Whenever it gets to be too much, I try to think of the fact that we’re all in this together. This great big mess of a world, with all its troubles and worries and awfulness… we share in the grief and the madness, and it’s a small piece of solace on a windy winter night.

As I write this, I listen to the piano and the violin and the music of Mr. Pärt, as maybe you’re listening right now, and I feel less alone. Outside the wind rages, and the night is dark, but here, with the glow of a computer screen and the thought of someone reading these words and hearing these notes, a glimmer of comfort flickers like a candle.

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