Milieu notes on today’s meditation: I’m physically tired today. My job is demanding, and so are the pressures of home life. I’ve been very fortunate thus far to meditate and write as I have, and to maintain the persistent focus I have maintained. I’m feeling the call of real life today and a need to alter things rather than accept them.
When I come to this place, my meditative projects seem like a silly use of time. I have bills to pay, goals to achieve and people to please. It’s amazing how quickly my consciousness finds its level. I started day one on a rough day, reached an apex around day four or day five, and have settled back to Earth in the last two days. Having been so clear for several days, it feels particularly discouraging to have a normal day.
I see with pristine clarity the situation I am in: I experience some success letting go through meditation. I feel better for it and have a few days of deep spiritual insight. But then I cling to the high – to the detachment and to the clarity. It evokes new want and expectation within me. If I can’t retain it I’m worse off than I was previously precisely because I tasted it and “lost” it.
Like always I can reason myself to the answer to my problem. But I can’t experience the solution today. I know that today I am living in desire; I know that my desire for spiritual progress prevents me from experiencing the bounty that is my life. But I just recite encouraging words and arguments to myself while feeling discouraged.
One thing works every time: I accept and embrace my normal day. I sit with this for several moments. Today I will be “normal” with full vigor. As soon as I make the decision my voice of underlying frustration speaks up: “It’s not a normal day, it’s a bad day! Normal is bad! I want extraordinary!” Ah, bingo – there’s the problem.
A normal day is a blessing! But today it’s a curse because I allow it to evoke in me dissatisfaction, boredom, insufficiency, lack, craving and desire. I want enlightenment damn it!
I assume the voice of dissatisfaction and speak as it prompts for several minutes, just as I did on day one. The more of it I bring to my awareness the weaker the impulse to speak as the voice. I say every word the voice prompts me to say. Within minutes it loses steam. In the silence that follows I feel warmth flow into my arms – a feeling that I experienced on day three. I’ll say it again for the record: acceptance is king when it comes to meditation. Just let the thought have its moment and move on with your day.
I’ll be meditating at work today. I’m not in the mood to meditate – I accept that. I’m going to anyway, even if I just sit there and hate it. That’ll show me who’s boss.
I assume my meditative posture. Timer is set for one hour. I push start.
I try to have no expectations but I do. I’ll be lucky just to make it through the hour. I try to start with the first thing on my mind but it’s no use. I stop trying and just let my mind wander. I observe for a bit, then think for a bit, then try to accept my subpar meditation. I literally do this for a whole hour. I figure if I can’t control my mind I’ll control my body, so I spend a few minutes breathing deeply and relaxing my muscles. I almost come to a neutral state by the time my alarm sounds.
Well, what do I take away from this? Is persistence the key? Do I do well to sit in unproductive meditation and salvage what I can? Or should I take a break when I’m out of synch? Is the proper course of action to defy my mood or listen to it? Personally, I am pleased to have sat despite the challenge. If I’ve accomplished anything today it’s that I practiced despite my mood. I paid homage to my goal – that was the best I could offer today.
When I think of it that way I am humbled, and my humility allows me several moments of peace. I’m still right here, eager to try again tomorrow.