Saturday, July 02, 2005

Day 5 - Wednesday

Editorial note: Meditation is not purposfully designed to be so brutal! I happened to sit in front of the teacher - who sits like a Grecian Urn and beside a fellow in a similar posture. At times I would feel unbelievably self conscious. The woman who sat behind me has this (loud) frequent swallowing thing - much like chinese water torure. So, at those times when I became wiggly, I'd try and hold it off as much as I could so not to irritate those around me. I am imagining that this is some form of cushion ettiquitte? In any event, sittings go any where from 20 min, 30 min to 1 hour with walking in between. Each morning there was an outdoor walk. Some of the leaders did not get that though...that it was walking meditation not a race to the finish...oi!

Noble silence all day. I've conneced with this practice in a way I never imagined. It affirms our socialness as much as it denies it. We fundamentally need to communicate to get things done. I am struck by this notion of simplicity which comes up time and again in Oryoki - and how simple small gestures can say what might ordinarily take 5 minutes to explain with the requisite social nicities. I have noticed that we become more initmate in silence - touching someone on the shoulder to gain attention.

Practice was alright this morning. I've discovered that they (the retreat organizers) stick in two blocks of one hour sittings. Those are brutal. Actually it's amazing that I can tell the time without a clock right there (I never wear a watch - yes I am one of those.) It's not always my brain that is doing this time keeping - my black seems to send out sirens and alarms - "Its past 20 minutes!" and then that alarm incessantly beeps "It's past 30 minutes!" Then I know I am in for the long haul. It's fascinating when you think of it. Usually I notice these when I am least worried about the time.

I had a couple of insights as I sat. Thinking is not a process limited to the brain. I've been experiencing thinking all over my body. My body just communicates that information differently. All these signals end up in the brain anyway...its all thinking...I am starting to see that I am more than a huge gynormous walking talking head.

It does start to help when I have a sore back to label it thinking. Its better than labelling it "Huge fucking aching pain in my bones!"

And then there are moments when I'd love to leave the room screaming.

The other insight is that it is just as easy NOT to focus on the hot anger/bs/mindstream...its just that we choose to stick with the neurotic stuff. I can choose to stick with my breath, or chase the anger. There is something so seductive about our stuff. I've discovered that I have been the most stuck around body issues (duh!) It never would have occured to me that this was so had I not decided to sit around and meditate all day long.

I tried to start my day off calmly today. It helped. Now how do I translate that to walking up with three busy boys?


hotboy said...

"..thinking all over my body". That was really good. Hotboy

robmcj said...

heather. About the woman with the frequent swallowing chinese water torture. When I used to go to buddhist meditation classes, a friend in the class took every breath in with a gasp, and out with a weary sigh. So I know what you mean. I never got used to it. It has taken me years to be able to sleep through a neighbour's distant barking dog, that's the most I've ever been able to ignore.