I am sat with my legs crossed having giving up with bending them into the lotus position. Straightening my back, I immediately question. ‘This may be too straight…The book says straight but not too straight…..Whatever that means. Ok so focus on the breath. This should be fine. I’m breathing all the time, how hard can it be? Breathe in breathe out. Should I be thinking about breathing? Should I count the breaths? Stop thinking. Stop thinking about thinking. Focus on the nose. Nice and easy, breathe in and out (someone coughs) oh well that’s ruined it….no just say ‘listening’ listening. Back to breathing’.
Anyone who is a beginner (or anyone who practices for that matter) to meditation can of course understand. I have ‘dabbled’ in meditation. Getting as serious with YouTube meditation videos as one can. I did at the time think it was going somewhere and maybe it was but of course ‘life’ gets in the way. The usual thoughts of ‘I can’t be bothered’, ‘it doesn’t make a difference’ or ‘I would rather sleep, eat, even work that sit here for even one minute more’. Why put off something as important as getting to know what is inside. And that there, is the scary part. Throughout my life I have suppressed my emotions. It’s what I do best. Outwardly, I’m all smiles, inside I am mentally ripping people’s heads off, but mostly just my own. This being the case, sitting with myself just observing what is lurking on the inside can be a daunting, even terrifying experience. But why?
I have just come back into the world after a 3 day silent meditation at the Temple. Not long but just enough to have some pretty big thoughts. One in particular is how long I have had these thoughts running rampant in my mind. How could I have not been in control of any of it? Just watching the breath left me shocked at how little control (well any control) I had. That was quite a scary realisation. I have thought back to even simple tasks such as eating and how I am not even ‘there’ when I’m eating. My mind is everywhere but in the present. Why is the present so difficult for us? Why are we always in the past or future? Oh but how I love to brood over the past. It was a particularly passionate hobby of mine, and one that I enjoyed even though it caused me continuous anguish. Thinking and analysing past ‘words’ with lovers, friends or family. What I/they should have said, what I wish I/they hadn’t said. Or even making up complete and utter fantasies in my mind with various people I know and actually working myself up into anger and jealousy over something that never and probably will never happen. The worrying thought is, if I let go of it all, then what will I have to stew over. Memories good and bad keep me entertained, and there lies the problem. I know through reading that the Buddha taught that there is no I, me, ego. This I find difficult to grasp yet I feel that I ‘understand’ deep down but my ego is not happy about it at all. This I know. But the most difficult teaching is that there is no soul. “According to the doctrine of Conditional Genesis, as well as of an abiding, immortal substance in man or outside, whether it is called Atman, ‘I’, soul, self or Ego, is considered only false belief, a mental projection. This is Buddhist doctrine of Anatta, No-Soul or No-Self”. (What the Buddha taught – Walpola Rahula)
That is quite a chunk of realisation to swallow to say the least. Thinking about it on a personal level, I realise how attached I am to ego but more so to the soul. It isn’t even the idea of the afterlife ,which would be the first thing to spring to mind. ‘Oh its ok if I completely make a mess of things in this life, I can always make up for it in the next one, if I decide I want to leave the heavens and all eternal bliss for another round here on earth’. For me it is the idea of ‘something’ inside me that is guiding me. It’s difficult to describe other than I always feel at peace thinking that my soul will guide me back on track if I should wander onto the wrong path. So far this ‘faith’ has (mostly) served me well. Then again, really it’s just another attachment. Looking for anything to cling desperately to, instead of looking inside as apparently therein lies the answers. The truth. I say apparently as I am yet to experience it although my meditation is improving, even if it’s just baby steps.
As with my previous post ‘let go’. This definitely seems an appropriate action to take when it comes to meditation. Expect nothing, want nothing and just let go.