my practice sucks

Ok, my practice doesn't really suck. But I was thinking about my last post and I think I may have given the impression that my practice was some kind of refuge* for me. That's not what it's supposed to be, and that's not what it is. Practice is just practice, it's not "supposed" to be anything.

It starts when the alarm goes off, earlier than I need, so that I have time to sit before work. I *never* want to get up -- to practice, or to anything. I'm tired, and the bed is warm. But part of my practice is exactly this, watching what arises in me. And what arises in me is annoyance, anger, fatigue, frustration... and the alarm *just* went off!

Anyway, so I get up and sit. I watch what arises from the six sense gates (the five senses and thoughts). And what arises is everything in the universe.

"Feeling the shirt touching the left shoulder."
"Hearing a truck outside."
"Having a thought that I'm still angry at my stepmother."
"Feeling a sensation of numbness in the right foot."

And so on, and so on. It's not happy fun time. Meditation, at least sensation-based meditation, is not bliss-filled. It just is.

So there's no nirvana-state. What I do often get is a sense that my ability to observe all of these things arising without reacting to them becomes apparent and seems to increase. But by the time this happens my mind wanders to some face I remember from the fifth grade, and then the alarm goes off again.

Time to go to work.

(*Correction: technically, yes, practice is something of a refuge. What I meant was my practice is more like work than relaxation.)

1 comment:

Raymo.E-J said...

Great post, Gene :)

After trying several techniques to concentrate the mind during meditation it seems conscious I found awareness of sensations is the one of the best ways for me to remain comfortably seated, and transcend dynamic-time. But only when doing chair-Zen :(

Though not "fun or relaxing" the work of continuously--err, continually--shining the light of your minds eye upon the pulsing tissues and nerves of a sleepy foot (or an aching back, a hurried breath, neurophysiological joy in seeing a lovely face)...that work has a payoff that spreads out over the rest of the day. That is, if you're skilled enough.

I think it's all fun (our job/practice) and playful to sustain throughout the day the comfort of the "nothing to be done, nowhere to go" feeling that we tap into during meditation.

But so many a time do we become unconscious and don't even realize we've lost the connection. Hours after sitting and getting off the cushion we start our habitual belief (ALL the world's religion) that

"this needs to be done"
"I've gotta be somewhere, dammit!".

Can we remain playful and "productive" throughout the day? Bonus points for catching yourself and reopening the tap. haha!