Lorien's Meditation Question
Question posed by Lorien (yoga teacher):
So, now when I see something like this, I stop and think... is it appropriate to meditate on the biological ancestors if someone is adopted? perhaps it's important to consider them, but the lines of connection feel different? I certainly worked a lot with the path of pain that was carried through my step-father's line down to me when I was meditating on forgiveness, but I know that's not the same. As someone who leads meditations, I'm very interested to hear how you might feel if I were to use this script for meditation and you were there to hear it.
Part of being adopted, I think, at least for me, is a habitual denial that I am different while at the same time having a habitual sense that I am different, that everyone else is of the world and I am in my own bubble, my feet not on the ground in the same way for others who weren’t adopted. But I’m so used to feeling this way I don’t think about it, just in the way I thought it was natural for my stomach to hurt all the time. I thought that was part of being alive. It never, never occurred to me that other people who are adopted often suffer from abdominal discomfort.
If I were in a yoga class and the teacher read this Thich Nhat Hanh quote, I would feel a quick sense of the mouth of the world opening up and of me disappearing into it, for this quote shows me I am not connected to my ancestors the way everyone else around me seems to be taking so for granted. The grief would be sudden and not something I’d even have words for, and so I would quickly regroup and make up a story. I’d tell myself, for example, to think of my family’s ancestors as my own. I would tell myself that I should do that, for I am part of that family and it is selfish and even mean for me to separate myself from my family tree just because of the technicality of genetics. Why do I have to make a big deal out of it if my family doesn’t? If my family doesn’t even like to talk about the fact that we are not related by blood?
Can you see how far I am from meditating at this point? I’m scrambling to catch up with the rest of the people in the room, trying to find my place in the narrative of my life, of the life of my ancestors, in my connection to all of those in the room around me, while everyone else is following the line from mother to grandmother to great-grandmother.
What might be revolutionary would be if the meditation/yoga teacher said something like, For those of you who don’t know the line of ancestors who came before you, you can look deeply into the palm of your hand and see that a different, broader web connects you to the world. Coming from nowhere also means you came from everywhere, and in your own strange way, in your own lack of knowing who made you, you came from everyone. You are part of the spider web of humanity in a way that is lighter, wilder, perhaps, than those who know names and dates. You can look deeply into your hand and see how badly the universe wanted you here. It took two people who weren’t able to keep you and it knew there would be a place for you because you are necessary, needed, in the vital web of life.
As you look into your palm you can see emptiness, all that you don’t know, and you can also see the lines that run across your hand, bringing you back to yourself.