‘If you compare the mind to a balloon, meditation as a religious technique is the process of inflating it with a single thought to the point where the balloon finally bursts and there is no longer even the thinnest skin between what is inside it and what is outside it.” Frederick Buechner, Frederick Buechner Quote of the day, November 6, 2027. Originally published in Wishful Thinking
Buechner so often takes us out of the box. Certainly, we hope in meditation to enter that thin place where the spiritual and the real word are only a thin layer away. Buechner tells us that meditation can not only dissolve that membrane but break it wide open, so it no longer exists. That definitely is what happens when we see the Christ in our neighbor and our neighbor sees the Christ in us. It certainly happens when we see the sacredness in the secular world, when we honor every human being, when we care for “this earth, our island home.”
That barrier often is broken in the sacraments, especially Eucharist and Baptism. We saw it at our church yesterday at the baptism of three adults, but something happens with infant baptism as well. Earthy holiness breaks through, all wet, sometimes with screaming.
I like the bursting of the balloon because we never know when it will happen. Balloons like ways to meditation come in all sizes and colors. Some balloons seem not burstable. Some break with little effort. It is a mystery.
Breaking a balloon also can produce chaos. That sometimes is where God most often meets us.