Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

24/12/2008

I'll do better next time

Every Monday night there is a gathering at the "Old Stone Church" in Bend.  It's a time for people to get together and perform various forms of sitting meditation and support one another in their practices, then to share tea and some conversation afterward if they wish.  I came upon the Bend Zen Group online and suited up against the bitter cold and dangerous road conditions to check it out.

In a quiet, welcoming, and relaxed environment the basics were explained:  Everyone sits on a chair or a bench or some cushions in their chosen position (I'm a fan of the half-lotus so far) and when the bell is struck three times, a silent meditation period of 25 minutes starts.  Two strikes of the bell ends the sitting meditation and the knocking together of some wooden sticks signals the beginning of a walking meditation, first slow, then fast, where everyone moves clockwise around the room.  Then 25 more minutes of sitting followed by more walking, and a third session of sitting.  The idea is to go in deep.  Way deep. As deep as you can go in a 25 minute period.  Very relaxing.  Very insightful.  I was up for trying it.

The cushion is round like one of those big cheeses. My legs are crossed under and in front of me, and my hands are in the cosmic mudra position making an oval between my touching thumbs and overlapping knuckles.  I sit straight up without straining, moving, or any discomfort.  I am mindful of my breath, and the breathing of the others in the room.  My eyes are closed but I sense the guy to my left, the woman to my right, the woman three feet in front of me, all breathing quietly and thinking ... or not thinking  ... focusing ... meditating.  With each breath going in and out I count, trying to get from zero to twenty and back to zero without letting my mind wander.  I get through the counting, not perfectly, but each breath comes deeper, calmer, quieter and the little bubbles of thought that arise from the unconscious slowly become less frequent, less disturbing.  After a while I'm forgetting to count, lost in the breathing and relaxation.  I've never gone for this long before and I am suprised not to have fallen asleep.  Such a nice feeling to let go, to really be here witnessing this moment, losing attachments to place and thoughts and emotions.  It's a long process to really cultivate true mindfulness and I am aware that I'm far from there, but being on the right path is good.  The air comes in and out of my nose peacefully and I feel it, I am it.

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Shit.  That's my phone over in my jacket pocket on the table by the door.  I really thought I'd left it at home.  Whoops!  Well, not gonna get up and turn it off. Doing so would be more disruptive than just letting it ring and stop on its own.  Meditation is supposed to condition people to roll with stuff like that, to not let it interrupt their peace, right?  Whoops, I'm not paying attention to my breathing anymore.  Ha, I feel bad that my carelessness just snapped everyone out of their "going deep" and such.  Wait, is feeling bad a proper response?  Wasn't I supposed to be mindful of my breath?  It sure snapped me out of mine, but maybe they're more practiced and didn't notice.  What?  That's ridiculous.  Someone just coughed.  Shit.  Sorry.  Okay, starting over again at one.  Breathe innnnnnnnnn.  Breathe ooooooooout.  Two ...

1 Comments:

Blogger Jadey said...

That was so funny and what its really like at those things when you first start out. Lol.

3:03 AM  

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