Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Steps

I am very happy to report my practice is back where I would like for it to be!  In one of my previous posts I had looked for suggestions on, basically, how to get my butt motivated!!   What I began to do is try to get up 5-15 minutes earlier each morning.  After a few weeks, I have been able to increase it to 30 minutes earlier.  As a result, I now have the 30 minutes that is my goal (for now) to sit each morning!  What a difference it makes.

One of my favorite videos (posted early in this blog) is someone teaching how to get started with Zen-style meditation.  I loved a part in it in which he spoke of how sitting can be so boring or you spend your meditation struggling with releasing the monkey mind.  However, there ARE those moments, those sits, that you can hear the angels sing because you've reached that state of awareness that transcends physical self.

As I had mentioned earlier, and is a fairly well-known fact, the more we practice, the quicker we see progress in our daily lives.  Since I have met my 30-minute goal, I have found my practice and personal understanding have picked up the pace again.  These are the things that encourage me to hold on and don't let go of my commitment to sit.

This past weekend we had two, count 'em, TWO, amazing sits in our group meeting.  My husband and I facilitate a meditation group and offer two sessions.  The group had grown to a point it was overflowing our meeting space, so we decided to offer a 6 PM and an 8 PM.  While we are thanked for our service to others, they cannot realize how much the GROUP does for ME.  We have to be there.  No getting lazy and deciding not to show up.  It also means sitting for two 45-minute periods within a couple of hours of each other.

In our last group meditation, I was able to reach that point of total awareness more than once throughout both meditation periods.  Normally, I can reach that point in the first or second, but never in both!  It was an awareness that transcends the physical connection to our bodies.  When we reach that point of no attachment to anything, but just experiencing in the moment as it comes.  The mind becomes quiet and our thoughts aren't even clouds floating in the sky.  They have faded into silence.

I have found many people confuse this sacred point of meditation with "blanking out".  "Blanking out" during meditation (which usually means you fell asleep) is great if your intention is to relax.  However, it is my personal belief, that to achieve real progress and change in your life, you must sit with the intention of just allowing yourself to sit.  No judgement.  No goals.  No intention but to sit and be aware.  To observe without becoming attached.  When we get completely silent in body and in mind, but remain aware, that is when we fertilize that seed that eventually becomes mindfulness.  But most definitely, blanking out is not the right way to achieve this.  You must remain aware for the full sitting period.

The most effective method I have found, so far, is when my mind has become that runaway horse again, I gently take it by the reins and bring it back to the physical sensation of breath in my body.  Sometimes it's my upper lip, sometimes it's my chest, sometimes it's my diaphragm. My intention at that point is to redirect my mind.  Give it something else to play with while I practice releasing and allowing the moment to be, just as it is.

We have to take baby steps ... and some of us may take more years than others to learn to walk ... but the point is that you stand up and take each little step as it comes to you.

Now to take another baby step to 45 minutes!!

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