February 25, 2010

I’ve been doing a lot of reading around in various places about meditation, as well as doing a little more reading of sacred texts. It seems that my own difficulties with meditation plague plenty of people who are just beginning to practice — and the general consensus is that one should start small.

I’ve always been that person who wants to do well at everything they try their hand at, and I have little patience for myself when I don’t automatically succeed. Meditation for me has been like this; I have difficulty sitting still, and I have a LOT of difficulty quieting my mind. I have learned in my readings that one doesn’t necessarily have to quiet one’s mind in the beginning. Using things like a smoldering stick of incense, a flickering candle, or a gong (or singing bowl!) to help draw attention and keep focus has been recommended to me on some fora I asked a few questions on. The idea is that, in the beginning, even a five minute meditation will do. Building up time is something that takes daily practice.

So here, starting today, is my plan: at 9am, every day, I will sit in silence in my room for five minutes. I will attempt to simply be. I will notice my body, what it is feeling, the environment around me. This simple act of noticing or “being” is referred to in Buddhism as “mindfulness“. Mindfulness has a lot of applications — in recent years, we’ve seen seminars on mindfulness about everything from eating to your office life — and it’s easy to see why. Becoming more aware of oneself and one’s environment is a key step, I think, to becoming aware of one’s needs. And isn’t that what so many of us, people called ‘seekers’, are looking for? The answer to a simple disquiet, a need we may not even know we have?

I will keep track of my meditations here, as an effort to help myself build the habit. As it is, it’s 0853 now, which means in seven minutes, I will turn off every electronic in my house, light a stick of incense, and settle into the first of many five-minute meditations.


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