Thursday, 22 November 2012

iSit: Days 7 to 11

Don't just do time. Sitting isn't one of those things that you get good at then stop. The goal is not mastery of the practice so you can be done with it then move on to the next thing. The practice never ends. The Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree until he became enlightened, which took him 49 days and nights straight. Most of us don't have that kind of time - or inclination. Then Siddhartha Gautama Buddha got up, stretched his legs, probably did a few Downward Dogs, and continued his practice going about spreading the dharma of enlightenment to the world - but his every awakened breath and move was now meditation in action.

Boredom, contraction and inertia are part of the practice. It is in my nature to take the bull by the horns when it comes to new things. Growth curves and struggle make me feel so awake and alive! I become a proverbial sea sponge, ride the waves, coast a while, then I hit the sand, dry up, and end up in someone's exotic sea shell collection.  Just notice, without judgment, that you have fallen in a rut and are "doing" time. Be present, for each fluctuation of mind, body and breath, knowing that what ebbs eventually flows. And every once in a while, give yourself a good dunk. A drop or two of sea water is as good as the whole ocean. Smile. Get inspired. Pay attention. Share a positive outlook or kind word - it may be all that's needed to taste the infinite again and turn someone else's tide. Embrace the whole ride.

Experiment. Sit, walk, stare at a candle flame, count your breaths, listen to the sounds of silence, cross your legs, uncross them, meditate on Om, stare at your Third Eye, do mudras, smell your surroundings. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, as long as it is embraced with sincere and sustained focus and attention. The world of meditation is your oyster. Shuck it.

Make meditation a priority. On Day 10, I waited until the 11th hour to do my meditation practice. I'd been avoiding it all day, and when I finally crawled into bed and remembered my 30-day project ... one more thing I had to do ... I pulled the covers up around my face, set my timer, and got still. But I was fighting sleep the whole way. Soon enough my Oms became Zees. But I made it to the harp and got a Gold Star. Give your meditation top priority. It isn't dusting, doing your taxes, changing your oil or one more task on your To Do list. It's your whole To Be list! And better yet, it's checked off; done; finit! Because you, already, are! Meditation isn't a mundane "time out" to forget the outer world, but a sacred pause to remember that inner is outer: is there anything more important than that?!

Meditate out in the world, right where you are. Yesterday, when I was waiting in line at the Registry and then the bank, and then in traffic, I felt my body contract and irritation levels rise as my self-righteous and bitchy ego started running laps on the unconscious treadmills of untrained puppy-dog mind. Yappity-yap yap yap yap ... so I threw her with a bone, distracted her with the still, clear gaze of my unwavering Buddha attention. And she bowed, licked her chops and curled up at my feet. Om. Good dog.

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