I meditated for six hours in a mindfulness meditation workshop the other day. The facilitator asked us to set an intention and I let it come to me. It was the word “stay”. I pondered why it came to me, and then she proceeded to use the word ‘stay’ in the context of meditation: stay with your sitting, stay with your practice, stay even if you’re having a bad day, stay even if you are not comfortable, stay with your true nature.
In the second hour of the day, I noticed I was distracting myself with lots of thoughts, so I started a chant in my head that I had learned in a different class. Then, I realized I hadn’t stayed. That in this context and practice, we’re supposed to stay with what is, not try to force it away or control the situation. Just be in that moment, stay in that moment without trying to leave that moment. That’s what staying is about. Sometimes that moment isn’t great, but just experience it fully anyway.
How does this relate to herbs? I’ve had some experiences where I experience the herbs in a very mindful way. I taste the herb, feel how it feels on my tongue, feel how it feels after I swallow. I stay with that experience. Other times I forget I’m drinking my tea, or taking my capsules. I’m not quite in that moment. Sometimes you can stay with an herb long enough to know it’s working for you. Other times, your focus is elsewhere – there’s too much going on. If the herb’s taste can bring you back into the moment, good. If the herb is strong enough for you to feel it in your body, then feel it. Observe it. Stay with it. Make note of it. Pay attention to that. Share that with your herbalist. Learn from the herb as you stay with it. Do stay with it.