had an interesting little experience meditating this morning. what made this morning a little different than other mornings was a DEEP DEEP feeling of relaxation in my belly. Boy that was nice. I noticed that my thoughts played a big part in this too, later on. I enjoyed the sensation so much that I kept trying to get back there. (holding onto pleasure, yes, I realize this!) But I noticed some thoughts immediately caused/created tenseness and tightness in my body and that deep relaxation wasn't as present. So I released the thought, or named it and let it be, and then the deep relaxation came back in my belly. It was a very pleasant morning.
I'm off now to get ready for an appt today. I'll get get back to you with more on mindfulness probably! :-)
Sunday night I watched a movie that triggered a lot of OLD stories in me: stories of loneliness and pain. I was feeling sad and lonely and decided to not dwell in it alone so I wrote to a few people that I know were usually up late. One lucky (or unlucky as the case may be) person was up and graciously agreed to be present to me. I said that this was old news and that there was a disconnect at the moment between my intellectual mind and my emotions. He heard me and validated what I was feeling and said all the right things. I felt very thankful for this experience. The sadness dissipated rather quickly and I was happy to see that I didn't collapse by opening up a raw side of myself with a friend. Sometimes, things need to be witnessed and this was one of those times for me. I ended with some night time meditation to continue to breathe in the emotions and watch them dissolve.
I woke up after a good sleep and did my morning meditations. The morning's meditations continue to be insightful. I still have a myriad of thoughts coming in and I'm sure that will be that way for a while. The books promise that these things will slow down some but for now, I greet them as the old friends they are!
I am interested to also include a night time meditation because I want to have a good winding down experience and get to that intimate space with myself before bed, just as I do in the morning after rising. It was also really good to have that time after emailing a friend to continue to slow down the thoughts.
Gratitude was the theme for me yesterday. In the morning after meditations, I received two phone calls from old friends and we talked and processed a lot of things for them and me. I told them about my experience the night before. It was good to go over this with people who have known me for centuries. :-) I ran some errands with my daughter in town and was very crazed with lots on my mind. I was working hard to keep mindful of how my TO DO list was getting to me (plus the excitement that the semester was beginning again.) I found myself routinely taking deep breaths and getting back to my body and getting back to the experience of the few hours I had with my daughter. These moments are special and I do understand what these books say about the tragedy of getting lost in thought and losing the present moment. Sitting actually does help to continue the awareness when we are "off the pillow."
School officially starts today. I am still sticking to the morning meditations although I must say that this morning I was eager to get down to brass tax. I had so many PLANNING thoughts in my head. I meditated for a half an hour and almost constantly had to get back to the breath. After a half hour, I blessed the day with intention and then went right down to business. What I can say that is good about meditation is that when I stop to quiet the mind, there is an endless TO DO list that can form at times. LOL It's as if my mind is very clear and I'm able to remember things that would/could normally get bogged down in my busy life. The other good thing is that I went right to what I wanted to do and didn't waste time checking emails or doing the usual morning "routine" of wasting time. I've always said this is a nice way to ease into the day, but really, it is a way for me to waste time. Meditation is a nicer way to start the day. I'll continue on in this practicing way.
I've finished Pema Chodron's book, "When Things Fall Apart" - every other page is dog-eared or written in. Lots of juicy bits of words to savor over the course of time. I'm glad to have read this although I must admit I enjoy the simplicity of Kornfield's words from his video. I haven't yet read his book but am looking forward to it. Chodron writes of non-duality and uses a lot of dualism in her language so it is complex to me. I still liked it very much.
this morning's meditation was interesting and insightful. I really spend a lot of time thinking. We all do and this is no real revelation - I suppose, though, when the intention is to sit down and SEE the level and amount of thoughts that come in, its pretty damn amazing. The good news is that I wasn't trying to fight it and I wasn't angry or frustrated (in times past I've stopped meditating because I thought the goal was to try to stop thinking.) I was seeing how easy it was, however, to let the thoughts wander - let my mind wander. I was a big day dreamer as a kid. Spent a lot of time thinking happy day dream fantasy thoughts about anything and everything. I am sure this was a coping skill because my reality wasn't so fun at times growing up. This morning I was seeing all the day dreamy fantasy thoughts: I was having conversations with friends that were kind of like wishes of conversations to come. I noticed it and looked at and asked myself a simple question about what is underneath this. The answer was very simple: there is a desire to be seen, heard, known, valued, validated in my relationships. I smiled and said to myself, "I see you, Linda. I hear you Linda. I know you Linda. I value and validate you, Linda." I then went back to watching my breath and being in the moment, only to have another thought drift in. It is going to take practice to keep being aware like this and it does feel nice.
I began reading Pema Chodron's book, "When Things Fall Apart" - it's for this meditation class coming up. I bought it several years ago but didn't read it. I bought it when things began to really fall apart but I couldn't bring myself to read it. I suppose it was enough to have validation that there is a book like this out there! LOL It's a good book. I haven't read anything of Chodron before and I find her to be very honest - there's some other quality, too, that I haven't put my finger on. Maybe it's that she's practicing Tibetan Buddhism and there's some quality in that. I like it though - it's different. It's not touchy-feely. It's pretty raw and honest. I can appreciate that.
In all these books the authors talk about how tragic it is that we leave the present moment. I have to find the way in which they wrote it because how I'm writing it doesn't give it justice. I've heard all this before but it's the way in which they write it (or maybe that I'm in a place to better GET it) that really speaks to me. It's the usual speech of the present moment being the only moment there is but how these 3 authors so far have been talking about it - it's appealing to me. There's this delicious quality to life if we stay in our bodies and stay with whatever is going on. The "recognition of being" is what gives us rest, awareness, creativity and intuition. Ah, that's beautiful. I think I'm getting that now. I am also gazing upon myself in meditation as if I were gazing upon those kids that I gave birth to: with friendliness and a loving curiosity and wow, that makes a big difference. I am enjoying the moments of "non-doing" of just being there and seeing what comes out of it. It's not easy but it is worth it and it's very enjoyable.
So the books that I'm reading for class so far are:
Wherever You Go, There You Are
When Things Fall Apart
There are more books on our list this semester but these are proving to be very good beginning books on the subject of meditation. Let me know what you think if you read them.