Having reached such a clear and still state in the last few meditations, I have become increasingly aware of the tension that I add back into my body and mind throughout the day. I recognize this tension as the source of all mental and physical problems. As I noted back on day 13, I think I add tension into my countenance so I don’t appear unusual to the people I’m around. If in the company of others you displayed no tension in your countenance, they would almost certainly notice and wonder what was going on. To them you would appear perfectly contented, untouched by the world, almost glowing with a knowledge of your true nature.
Funny that this is precisely the image of the illuminated sage, radiating the healing power of his own self recognition to others. But I feel habituated into commisery with my peers; it fees stark to stand resolute in my true nature. I know I shrink from it, but why? It feels difficult to be both in the world and above it. It feels like if everyone knew you had a secret, you would spend your whole life teaching them what it was. But this is exactly what we are called to do.
Or perhaps it’s not them at all. Maybe I use commisery with others as an excuse to compromise my practice. It would be easy to blame other for my own failure to hold resolute.
I’m not going to lie: I don’t feel like meditating every day. Well, that’s not exactly true. I feel like meditating every day as long as I’m getting consistently “good results,” making “progress,” and successfully escaping my mundane reality. But this doesn’t happen every day. Some days I just sit in a distracted and irritable state. These days feel the worst because I feel like I am blocking the very relief I need. But again, if i require escape then I am not properly practicing acceptance. I am cultivating dissatisfaction.
But despite the daily variance in the quality of my meditation, my awareness is consistently increasing. I rarely if ever feel ignorant of what’s going on inside me. I have achieved over the last 27 days of meditation a constant inner awareness. But I still have much work to do cultivating inner control.
I am still of the mind that I should not be having certain thoughts and feelings. When they arise I resist them, which makes matters worse. I had a major breakthrough on this topic on day 25, but the realization has faded from a reality to a memory. Rather than knowing it in each moment, I force myself to remember in each moment. Perhaps I should sit with this lesson longer until its lesson is a permanent part of me.
I expect to blog new things every day, to document new and profound experiences. But really I am being drawn to the same lessons. These lesson are so simple, and yet they are the hardest things to perfect.
I see why in Zen they call it the Gateless Gate: from the “outside” you feel that you have to do so much to get inside. You have to let go of everything and go to the place where perfection exists. But once on the inside you realize that there is no gate. There is no place to go. You have given up nothing and gained everything.
On the days when my practice is most difficult, I return to the One Grape meditation. Pick a grape and eat it. As you eat one grape, be fully present with it. Let all else go and be full in the moment. Anyone can do this for the duration of one grape.
Now pick another. Be fully present as you chew it. Let everything else go.
In every day, every situation is but one grape. Pick it, chew it, be with it fully. Be with it as long as it lasts and no longer. When it is done, pick the next grape and give it the same attention. Tension only arises from looking past this grape to the next.
This meditation seems easier than life because all grapes are sweet. Not every moment is sweet. But the lesson is impermanence. All moments come and go. Let each moment take the stage. Give it your full attention as it exists and let it go when it passes. Through the impermanence shines your true self: the unchanging, eternally aware presence at the center of your being.
Today I will pick and eat the grape of each moment – nothing more, nothing less.