Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Posting from the dig

My meditation teacher said these words to close our sitting session today:

May all be happy
May all be free from pain
May all live with love and compassion
May all awaken, and be free

All those who are being born and those who are dying
Those who are peaceful and those who are violent
Those who are poor, and those who have great wealth.

And sitting there I felt the compression of those intentions into the very small space of my heart, which in the wrong conditions would be unspeakably depressing: they cannot all occur, and we are immobilized right here with our human misery. Luckily all the conditions were right: I was sitting with like-minded people in a quiet room, the clocks echoing each other in a perfectly syncopated drumbeat like musician's hearts, having delivered my children to their safe, welcoming, sweet teachers and friends, with the memory of a good day yesterday and the prospect of a good day ahead. I could take it in, and make space. Perhaps it is more accurate to say make time?

How to do this when feeling pressed? When conditions aren't ideal?

It seems to be all about time, and timing. It is not always the right time to claim my needs, my wants, my view of the way things should be. There will be time for it, though. Meanwhile there is an opportunity for there to be other ways, other's needs, other's gifts. Open, open, says my heart (and you have to do it right when you are asking your son for the three-thousandth time to hang up his clothes instead of dumping them on the floor, it adds) and allow the time for the process. The trick is knowing when the right time for the right point of connection is in relationship, isn't it? Like knowing when is the right time to swing the bat to connect with the ball. Too early or too late and I get nothin'.

That moment in meditation class was full of both sadness and joy at the same time, evenly matched. Everyone is being born, everyone is dying, everyone is peaceful and everyone is violent, everyone is poor and everyone has great wealth.

In my mind I saw the sound of the bell aerobatically leaving the metal cylinder like a stunt plane doing a sixteen point roll, and leveling out as it flew by, crossing my face at lip-level and lifting the corners of my mouth into an involuntary smile. As the bell sounded again to end the session I saw all those intentions dissolve into a fine mist that expanded in all directions, swelling my boundaries and saturating my cells.

Last night my daughter said "when I have a tooth under my pillow and I lay back on it, I feel like my pillow is magic." It seems that losing teeth is a good time for memorable life lessons from Dora, as I wrote about another one here! What's this one?-- about waiting for the right time, and not knowing when that will be, and relating in the moment as well as you can, letting rigidity go.

Good grief! It's the same, it's the same lessons over and over, yet always I feel like an archeologist unearthing something buried by hundreds of feet of lava.

And so much for facebook. That lasted about one week. I gotta connect with faces, with voices, with energy. Excuse me for being an old fart, but Facebook is indifferently crazy and crazy-making.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The way I see it today

The removal of routine caused by the holidays means I haven't been meditating much. When there's no plan and the movement of the family is determined by the moment, I guess the idea of sitting felt sort of outside of the flow. I did some yoga, and some staring into the fire, and some knitting though--activities that tolerate interruption--all very enjoyable. Still, it was not surprising to find a modicum of melancholy in myself. I wonder if that's just the way it is.

And here we are in a new year. Regardless of the exact moment of greeting (I am not attached to the clock's demarcation of the actual minute, and usually prefer to greet the new year with daylight), gradually the new year brings with it a sense of a clearing of the decks, doesn't it?

Part of my experience of being an introvert is a feeling that if I spend this time or this energy there won't be any more available, which results in an unfortunate behavioral by-product: hoarding. Too much guarding of self and space can be isolating, and maybe warping. It's one of the things I hope meditation is slowly changing in me. When I feel the full calm of it, somehow I generate an expansion of interior space and a solid feeling of time for my needs to be met.

In response to a suggestion by a friend, I have chosen a word to guide me through the year. The word is CONNECTION. I don't think the idea is to live by it, necessarily, but to come back to it occasionally, like we do with an intention at the beginning and during a single yoga class, and contemplate your reality through that filter, and see what you get. Could be a little bit of insight, a little bit of magic. A bit of surprise probably.

At a New Year's meditation gathering a few days ago I sat with maybe 25 or 30 other folks for an hour. We meditated on loving-kindness, and on forgiveness. I thought, as I sat there with all the built up and expended frenetic energy of the holidays over, that in the aftermath of Christmas spirit wreckage I might actually have a context for forgiveness. It started with forgiving myself for some of my many shortcomings. Now that was an expansive feeling--the edges of my personal envelope, for a moment, reached out to pioneer new territory. I wanted to laugh, cry, sew myself onto a star and hide myself underground all at the same time.

There is definitely something different and well, bigger, I guess, about meditating in a group. I'll have to think more before I can put words to it. Something about all of us tragically separate people sitting, breathing, forgiving together gave me permission to acknowledge my individual quirks. There is often an image in my mental perambulations--I often see images in my mind, and not timid or dainty ones, but ones that are strong and color saturated and exactly how they ought to be.

Due to the action-packed nature of our days, I don't see them clearly most of the time, or they are couched in the moment and forgotten because I move on to what I ought to be doing. But they come right out and sparkle, like Edward the vampire in a sunlit clearing (shriek! shriek!), when I meditate, and I have time to look at them. Which is not to say I'll be able to make them to suit my mind's picture, but it is a good place to start (note to self: remember to let beginner's mind take over!)

While sitting in that group with the fluidity and focus of forgiveness running throughout, the image I got was of a pair, perhaps more, of hands loosely holding a package. It was something like a christmas gift the size of a small pillow, with a wide ribbon, which instead of being solid was the incarnation, magnification, figuration of JOY, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS. It wasn't glowing, but it was so rich in its presence that it made everything else seem dim. How to render this . . . how to give it . . . how to receive it?

Well here I go: this year I'm looking for connection with all the joy, compassion and forgiveness I can find. You with me? My first step, totally on impulse (hold on to your hats . . .) I joined Facebook! I don't get it at all and not sure how it figures in with my daily life if at all; I'm in the adding friends-frenzy and it seems a bit, um, artificial. But maybe later if I have something really important to say and I want to do it quickly, there it will be, the network of digitally-linked friends. See you here or there or somewhere, I'm sure.