By Mark Harbinger

Sometimes, I cry when I meditate.

That's okay, you know.

Most people think meditation means clearing your mind. Tabula rasa. No thinking or feeling allowed.

But, that's not so.

Yes, while you notice your breath and your mind relaxes, sometimes your monkey mind runs wild.

But, mindfulness is about accepting those thoughts, fully, and without judgment—and then letting them go. Emotions will come. They arrive, suddenly filling your consciousness, like a small child's cry in the early morning.

You notice the emotion. You examine it. You allow yourself to feel it. And then you let it pass through you. Not forgotten, but no longer carrying you away from yourself.

You come back to the breath.

Always, you come back to the breath.

Part of my mindfulness routine is to picture a loved one, like one of my sons, sitting across from me in a chair. I hold their head in my hands, close enough to smell their happy breath, their smiling, cherubic faces joyfully squinting back at me.

Then their face changes. It hardens. No longer a child's face, they look as they do now. Men, with purposeful eyes, sharpened by time.

I thrice repeat this affirmation, for each of them:

"May You Be Healthy,

May You Feel Happiness and Find Joy.

And May You Live With Grace."

My sons are grown. But, the world can still hurt them.

I can see it happen, unfolding in another wave of images. Heartache that never heals. Hateful fits and starts from a society that seems to care less and less...even damage to their own children. So inevitable. I can't stop it from happening.

And so, sometimes, I cry.

They can't hear me sob, or feel my hands, or smell my breath.

Nor can they see me, of course. Not since I died.

Still, I'd like to think they know I'm there. That my attempt to hold them someday, while they despair, will register as a faint brush upon their shoulders. That my comforting voice will be noticed as curtains fluttering in a warm, summer breeze.

But no, they are distracted. They have their lives to live.

Still, meditation helps.

Mark, lives in the Pacific Northwest (US) and enjoys being a father, husband, and proud servant to Murray A. Goodness (the Cat). His short works have been featured in competitive online e-zines since 2003 and he is releasing: his first fantasy novel and a graphic novel anthology, later this year.