Yesterday‘s meditation has ruined me today. During the first session I experienced presence like never before. I was brimming, bursting, filled with all that I would ever need. Now that I’ve had a five-star meditation, I want one every time. This wouldn’t be a problem if desires and expectations weren’t so contrary to my meditative purpose. As soon as I get caught up in wanting and trying, I may as well just write it off and watch TV.
Two things indadvertedly happen the day after a great meditation:
- I attach to it. It was the result I desired so I cling, cling, cling. Now my happiness is dependent on a result; if I achieve it I’m happy, if I don’t I’m not. In effect I undermine the purpose of meditating. I have to let it go. As I argued on day six, pleasure is a more persistent illusion than pain. This is an important thing to remember to avoid becoming dependent on good days.
- I experience a psychic backlash from it. It’s as if I temporarily displace my ego during meditation. When it comes back, it comes with a vengeance. I relive old grudges, pine away and glorify my own misery. I have learned not to try to control it when this happens. I just let each thought have its moment and observe myself in action. It’s less about avoiding this backlash than it is about managing it. Like the koan suggests: “If you want a wild stallion to calm down, you give him a bigger pasture.” Don’t resist; just let it be. It will run its course.
I’m illuminated to have discovered my habitual cycle of success/expectation/disappointment. Now that I am aware of it, I can properly transcend it. My desire must be to remain desireless, not to have good meditations.
Here’s the latest point of interest: for the last several days I have noticed that I my ears get red and hot throughout the day and my face and neck feel warm and flushed with blood. It has been persistent enough to pique my attention. If it weren’t for the fact that I feel great, I would think I was coming down with something. I did some superficial research on warm ears, faces, and necks and discovered they are most commonly caused by intense emotion, hormonal changes, social issues, stress, or increased blood flow.
I am not a doctor. That being said here’s what I think is going on: over the last two weeks I have released some major areas of tension, primarily in my abdomen and the center of my brain. I have experienced what feels like the revival of a pulse in several areas, and a reduction of pressure in others. My meditations definitely feel like they’ve improved blood flow throughout my body, and my blood pressure is a little lower than it has been lately. (Yesterday 120/79 down from a consistent 125/82).
I am wondering if my body is acclimating to less diastolic tension and if my hormones have changed to accommodate my lower levels of stress. Far from being embarrassed or stressed, I feel more clear and fully conscious than I have for several years. Since I have been letting myself act more vigorously when needed, I feel myself releasing the energy I normally resist as I use it. I feel warm inside and it feels good. Nothing feels bad about it. When I tune in and listen to my body, my warm ears, face and neck feel like a side effect of realignment, not misalignment.
Or maybe I have cancer. WebMD would certainly have me think so…
On to the meditation. I am no longer interested in doing two half-hour sessions. My experience yesterday was discouraging. I could have had a full hour of bliss. Instead I got thirty minutes of bliss and thirty more of wishing for bliss.
Already I can tell this will not be a benchmark day. But I’m getting better about letting it be as it is. I assume a meditative posture and set the timer for one hour. I push start.
Ok, letting go of expectations of superconscious bliss. Ahh, that’s kind of peaceful. I catch several glimpses of peace just by letting go of my attachment to this sitting. I’ll just sit today with no agenda. As I said on day eight – I’m just here to pay homage to my goal.
It is strange to me that I am experiencing not only different quantities of peace and calm, but also different qualities. Some days the peace is mental, other days physical, other days it is full of presence, other days it is absent of anything. Some days it seems entirely within me, other days entirely beyond me. Some days it is piercing and intense, other days gentle and subtle. All aspects of the infinite Godhead.
Today it feels simple, gentle, reassuring. Despite my fear that I won’t get as deep today, I feel the depth of yesterday underneath me today. I’m not residing in it, but it’s there, I can feel it. That’s all the reassurance I need.
I sit for the hour and my timer rings. It’s so rewarding to sit on the days you aren’t really feeling it. Self discipline and perseverance are powerful tools for self realization. It takes days like today to fully realize their power.