Moving onward in meditation

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Time to increase the length of my morning meditation practice, I decided several days ago. For more than one year, I have sat for 20 minutes each morning, before having my coffee. Once seemingly endless, the 20 minutes have come to seem short. So, what am I waiting for?

A little over-ambitious, I tried for 45 minutes. The first day I tried it, that went well. The second day, not so well. Then I began suffering from a bad head cold. I changed the timer to 30 minutes, and that was hard — well before the timer chimed, I felt light-headed because of the cold symptoms. It was very interesting trying to fight through the sensation that I was about to faint!

Finally, on Thursday, the cold symptoms lessened, and I had a good 30-minute sit (with no fear of fainting).

The work done on the cushion continues to be challenging. For me, it is still mostly just maintaining focus on the breath. But I have recently begun an investigation of the Self — gosh, that sounds so snooty! What I mean is, I have started going past “What am I? Don’t know” and on to examining where “Self” might be, if there were one. I was influenced somewhat by John Daido Loori’s repeated references (see link) to “this bag of skin,” meaning the body, and I focused for a while on how the brain (not the mind) controls the body. I also focused a bit on physical sensations and how they cannot far exceed the physical location of the body.

I can’t tell exactly where this will lead, but it all seems correct to me.

Breathe.

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3 responses

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful efforts! Zen Master Seung Sahn frequently said, “Try try try, ten thousand years, non-stop.” Your training is a wonderful example of (and inspiration for) this.

    Barry

  2. Thank you very much for your inspiring effort.

    In our soto zen practice we just sit, not focusing on anything. When I have my evening zazen, I don’t use timer at all; by experience I’ve noticed that when we my feet are starting to fall asleep I’ve been sitting around 20 minutes. So then I usually change my feet position a little bit and when feet are starting to fall asleep again, I’ve been sitting around 40 minutes. Then I’m done. It’s sometimes harder to sit with a timer because of attachments; mind just works like that. πŸ™‚

    Thank you, take care!

    With palms together,
    Uku

  3. I spend so much of my time asking, “What have I become? Where am I going? What does this all mean? I don’t know.”

    For the past year or so I’ve been spending about 25 minutes a day not doing that by meditating. It’s tough, sometimes, to get started by focusing on my breath and letting go of those thoughts … but then I can relax and distance myself from identifying with analyzing and thinking — for a little while, at least.

    It’s funny: I notice that when I’m overwhelmed by thinking, I notice how shallow my breathing becomes.