so it got t a point where it wasn’t a question of “to sit or not to sit” – it was simply what I did.
I took a week off.
restless on my cushion today, I recommitted to the practice and to my community. I am here for the long haul.
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Silly Drowa has written 43 entries about this goal
so it got t a point where it wasn’t a question of “to sit or not to sit” – it was simply what I did.
This has become such a part of my daily life that I don’t even really think of it as a ‘goal’—I often take Saturdays (& sometimes even Sundays) off, but the rest of the week, I sit like clockwork – sometimes once, sometimes twice in a day.
I’m watching my blind spots become clear to me, have seen my life change dramatically, and have watched ‘unskillful’ habits melt away. I don’t know if this is due to my practice, but the practice seems somehow to have moved beyond the ‘why’s I thought I was there for. Now it’s something bigger. I cannot imagine stopping.
I was on a roll there—about 5 days a week, sometimes 2x/day
& then… I had house guests, & started taking a class that has lots of homework. and I fell “off the wagon”.
I’ve really missed it when i have found myself doing other things.
Looking forward to recommitting. And tomorrow I begin again.
I’ve signed up for another silent retreat, & they’ve asked me why I want to retreat “at this time”
I’d like to get more clarity than I have…
cz it sounds like a ‘fun’ vacation (not)
cz I like retreat food?
cz I believe it will reanchor my practice?
cz many around me in my home environment are ‘melting’ & I really want to do what I can to support myself in the midst of multiple simultaneous crisis.
cz i’m tired of hearing myself talk?
cz while I find my practice rewarding, I really want to see what deepening looks like
cz I’m looking for a ‘teacher’ who might know how to push my edges (recognizing it may just as well be the heavy breather next to me as the people set-up as dharma teachers)
cz I want to explore my edges & see what avenues for growth might be available to me now
cz I am celebrating recently finding evidence of personal growth, & grasping at MORE.
cz I’m a retreat junky
cz I wanna & the schedule fits my life.
So entering the last lunar month, I looked at some habits of unconsciousness & wrote them down (avoiding sitting, starting up the computer or the radio without a clear purpose)
I then sat (mostly in community, & mostly at the crack of dawn) all-but-TWO days in the month, & didn’t give my list much thought.
Yesterday, I took stock of shifts that have happened internally in the past month, & the list is quite delightful – the change happened not in the external way we might ‘make’ ourselves change, but in a truely integrated way. My list includes about 10 major changes in relationship, habits, practice etc.
SOME of these changes reflect things that were conscious – changes I wanted to make, & either did, or didn’t. I didn’t hold my intention list as law, but did enjoy coming back to it 1/2 way through to recommit to those that were still ‘alive’ for me.
For a really small example of an internal shift: I really got on a visceral level how MY relationship to “STUFF” is akin to other people’s relationship to body-weight. I’m a skinny girl, but I really think that the ‘weight’ I leave in my house/ at my desk is really the same thing. It serves the same psychological purpose even. On that plane, I can see that there is no way to ‘win’ my struggle against ‘stuff’ without ‘eating less, & exercising more’.
I have ‘dieted’ in the past, & have been ‘good’ for a while & then backslid. I am optimistic that this time the ‘cleaning binge’ I’m on may be sustainable, & not simply part of the cycle of binge-purge-gainItAllBackWithInterest-binge-purge…
The impetus for clean is at this point more integrated & (I think/hope) sustainable & long term.
I didn’t go into the period with clutter even on my mind. The clean started happening as ‘nasty’ side-effect of slowing down & watching my mind…
What will YOU do in a month of sitting!?
Hello all!—today is, in most parts of the Muslim world the beginning of the new year. For anyone who didn’t wanna make new year’s resolutions according to the roman calendar, you still have time to renew your intentions….
So for me, another lunar month of intensified practice.
Last month was medium practice, this one I’d like to ratchet it up.
1- At least one day-long sit
2- average 30 minutes a day
3- keep track of my time in a log (I’ve got this cool circular log I’ve created recently that corresponds to the phases of the moon & that seems oh so much more creative & joyful than doing things in rows and lines…. At least 5 words about the sit & how it was.
According to my calendar that’s today til the next new moon on 2/17.
What are YOUR plans for the month? 3 days a week? 1 hour a week? average 12 minutes? 24-hours a day from now til next month? wanna rededicate yourself to the practice?
I took this down from a dharma talk by Wes Niskar …it made me laugh AND cry. If you like it, send a dollar to Spirit Rock or something… I think you can hear Wes reading his own poem here:
I meditate because I suffer.
I suffer, therefore I am.
I am, therefore I meditate.
I meditate because there are so many other things to do.
I meditate because when I was young it was all the rage.
I meditate because Siddhartha Gautama, Bodhi Dharma, Marco Polo, Carl Jung, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg, Alfred E. Neuman et. al.
I meditate because evolution gave me a big brain, but it didn’t come with an instruction manual.
I meditate because I have all the information I need.
I meditate because the largest colonies of living beings, the coral reefs, are dying.
I meditate because I want to touch into deep time where the history of humanity can be seen as just an evolutionary adjustment, period.
I meditate because life is too short, and sitting slows it down.
I meditate because life is too long, and I need an occasional break.
I meditate because I want to experience the world as Mary Oliver does.
I meditate because now I know that enlightenment doesn’t exist so I can relax.
I meditate because of the Dalai Lama’s laugh.
I meditate because there are too many advertisements in my head, and I am erasing all but the very best of them.
I meditate because I’ve discovered that my mind is a great toy, and fun to play with.
I meditate because I want to remember that I’m perfectly human.
I meditate because I love Jack Kerouac.
Sometimes I meditate because my heart is breaking.
Sometimes I meditate so that my heart will break.
I meditate because a Vedanta master once told me that in Hindi my name ‘Niskar’ means ‘non-doer’.
I meditate because I am growing old and want to become more comfortable with emptiness.
I meditate because Robert Thurman called it an evolutionary sport and I want to be on the ‘home team’.
I meditate because I am composed of a hundred-trillion cells and from time to time I need to reassure them that we’re all in this together.
I meditate because it’s such a relief to spend some time ignoring myself.
I meditate because my country spends more money on weapons than all other nations in the world combined; if I had more courage, I’d probably immolate myself.
I meditate because I want to discover the fifth Brahmavihara, the divine abode of awe, and then I’ll go down in history as a great spiritual adept.
I meditate because I am building myself a bigger and better perspective and occasionally I need to add a new window.
I thought I would be here every day this month w/ some piece of inspirational something.
The month started w/ a co-worker’s tragic family loss, & I’m off in a swirl. Caught in stories of what this might /mean/ (projecting into the future for many people, projecting my own imaginings of what might be going on for close family)
I am, for the most part grounded in my space, but find it so easy to be whisked away by my thoughts as I sit. Restlessness & thinking pervede. Movement seems to offer the solidity & grounding that keeps me present.
I am again reminded of how interconnected our lives are.
One life gone spirals out in it’s influence….
sitting, holding my friend & her family.
is today the new moon or tomorrow? depends on your time zone….according to the “Pocket Astrologer” & the ultimate authority on everything (my mother)—the new moon happens at 1:14am EST…
I guess it matters not much—choose your own beginning, & I’ll see you @ the end of the month (a race to enlightenment/peace??)
for how ‘bout an excerpt from Pablo Neruda poem?
I love it because it points to how interconnected we all are, how the separation we experience is an illusion…
I love you in this way because
I don’t know any other way of loving but this,
in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.
OK, so this zen center near me encourages members to go into intensive practice periods (I think their next one starts in December)—this is all fine & good, but I wanted something now.
So… At the beginning of this lunar month (20? days ago) I started my own practice period. Thus far, I’ve managed to sit every day for a minimum of 20 minutes, aiming for an average of at least 30 minutes a day.
I don’t know how long it’s been since I had 20 days solid of meditation… stress has been falling all around me, but things seem to mainly be going in my direction—I am curious how this regime would continue if outside circumstances were NOT going my way… I’m not trusting I’d be quite so happy-go-lucky… Maybe.
Listened to a dharma talk from Roshi Joan Halifax – I love dharma talks online! (where is Upaya zen center??)
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