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Friday, 26 January 2018

flat on my back, not really meditating, when...

 In a meditation session, our minds rest with the breath, or areas of the body, or ..whatever it is we are using to centre ourselves. But our minds move away into linked chains of memories, or anticipations and fantasies, or - well, if you meditate you'll know the stuff. So we are taught to bring our consciousness gently back to the breath, or whatever we're using...

It's been frequently observed  that one difficulty with discrete meditation sessions can be that we try too hard - "how can I get back to that wonderful feeling of being here and now and only here and now?" (Not that we ever can, in any real sense, "get back" to anything - time's arrow moves in only one direction.) "How can I stop my mind wandering away from the breath?" And the harder you try, the harder it gets.

And meditators can often feel self-critical because they feel they were "drifting off,"  "not concentrating," "letting my thoughts run away with themselves." The "I'm useless at meditating, must try harder " treadwheel.
 Perhaps these feelings are endemic in discrete sessions "on the cushion" (chair, stool etc) exactly because sesssions can seem special, apart, to one side of daily life. 

I should try to remember two things; it was John Peacock who first made it clear to me that having the mind wander off, and gently returning it to the present moment, is all part of meditating, it is not some shameful failure of mind! And secondly, that it's not helpful to feel that being mindful is only a product of discrete meditation sessions.

This morning, I was doing the few simple Pilates-based exercises I use each morning. These are to stop my back throwing in the towel too far in advance of the rest of me. 


 it's probably needless to say that this lissome young fellow is not me, and I was on the carpet at home, not on the grass surrounded by flowers.

Lying on my back, I finished with a big stretch, then relaxed - and with no bidding or effort felt -  It. Being entirely and only present. No effort preceeded it, no thought in particular led to it. 

Maybe it was having being bodily aware of the various quite small and focused movements needed for the Pilates, letting my mind stay with them. Maybe it was the contrast between the effort required, followed by the abrupt release of effort and muscular tension.

It didn't last long, It never does, but It'll be back, perhaps when I'm on my back, perhaps when I'm walking along the top lane, perhaps when I'm in session.

 Doesn't really do to analyse It too much, I'm just grateful for It's arrival, and will try to arrange myself, in whatever posture and location seem propitious, to encourage Its arrival.

"Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time..." 
                                  (TS Eliot, Burnt Norton)


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