“Stand up, take your mat and walk.” The man healed in the Gospel story (John 5:1-16) complains that no one has helped him to get into the magic pool while the angel was stirring the waters. He has been waiting there for thirty-eight barren years: as long, according to Deuteronomy, as the Israelites had wandered in the desert. What’s the symbolism of that? Are there problems, blocks, hang-ups in yourself, in your character, in your life, that have been with you for as long as you remember? Things that you have given up on ever getting over but which still cause you to regret, complain or feel sorry for yourself? The cause of the problem, however much it is ancient history, set deep in the early layers of your life, is linked to and sustained by the effects of the sadness or anger it has produced. So we are held in a double pincer movement: a historical trauma and an ongoing post-traumatic stress. The past has flooded and incapacitated the present, just as a computer virus invades and slows down operational functions. We are held captive and we feel no one seems to want, or to be able to help. The spirit cannot tolerate such a situation and such a waste. Given half a chance, even a brief encounter by a magical pool, it will penetrate the person and target the problem and say, “Now move on and take that damned mat with you.” This is what is happening in meditation.
— from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB