Meditation and Stories

“Fairy tales are more than true,” says G.K. Chesterton. “Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us the dragons can be beaten.” 

As others might say, fiction is the lie that tells the truth.

I think that’s why my favorite genre to read is Children’s Literature.

Let’s be clear. Not children’s books. NOT (heaven help us) young adult fiction. No. Children’s. Literature. 

I’m very particular about what falls into this category, but it’s almost universally pre-1980 (one noteworthy exception is The Tale of Despereaux) and is written for children. Yet it holds deep kernels of truth within its pages. They are the books that you can skim through in a day, but leave you processing for a week. They are books that take complex truths and make them simple enough for a child to understand.

Anyway, I’m writing about Children’s Literature because my latest read is A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeline l’Engle. She didn’t just write A Wrinkle in Time and if you haven’t ever read anything else by her, go buy the Time Quintet right now and while you’re at it, find Meet the Austins.

The incredible thing about Children’s Literature is how it can so matter of factly tackle incredibly hard topics and leave you thoughtful and reflective. Reading last night, here is just one section that stood out… about meditation, dying, losing our lives to find them.

“What were you meditating about, Grandfather?” I asked, unfolding his napkin for him.

“You don’t meditate about.” His nicest smile twinkled at me. “You just meditate. It is, you might say, practice in dying, but it’s a practice to be begun as early in life as possible.”

“Sort of losing yourself?” I asked.

“It’s much more finding than losing.”

This morning, I’m reflecting on meditation. How it allows us to lose ourselves and in the process, to find so much more.

Brittany Barden