When is hell is the timer going to go off? When will this be over? My legs hurt. My back is crunching down…I have bad posture. Where did I get such bad posture? I always thought I had good posture, but maybe it was all those backpacks I’ve carried. I miss the trail. Oh my leg itches now. I should call Full Moon soon. We need to talk….
I was sitting still watching my brain scuttle around like a dark little beetle, feeling more and more uncomfortable. Every now and then I came back to my breath, doing my best not to reprimand myself for getting off course. I was having a heck of time reigning in my wild brain, and the sitting was physically painful. My 38 year old body was protesting, hollering at me to get some stretching into my daily routine more often. But still I sat there, watching the pain grow, and wondering when the timer would go off so I could move again.
I have taken up my meditation practice again. I am also taking up the chance to earn a MFA in creative writing at Chatham University, starting next fall. While excitement is definitely on the plate, the main course so far seems to be fear. Fear that my clunky writing abilities will embarrass me, fear that I will fail miserably, and maybe most of all, fear that I might succeed and lose myself into a world I am desperately aching to be in.
I think meditation is a key factor in dealing with that fear, with any emotion. What meditation means to me is simply noticing. Noticing how one thought quickly slips to another, noticing the noises around me, noticing my body, noticing all the things that come up when one sits still. Then, when I am sitting there noticing all this, I am also noticing my breath. Oh yeah, even in all that discomfort I am still breathing. Life goes on.
I also believe that meditation creates the best way of understanding life and making the best choices within it. Rather than asking someone else to tell us the answers or what to believe, through meditation we are seeking the answers within. There is so much that goes through my brain every day, and of so little I am aware. In meditation I hear myself, and then I can choose my actions based on the guidance of my own heart.
That other night when I was sitting so uncomfortably, I wanted to move and ease the pain. And I could have made the choice to do just that. No one was stopping me from stretching my legs out. But I see that life isn't about getting rid of pain or suffering, because there really is no way to do that. Rather, the goal is to learn to stretch out the breath so that we can breathe inside the pain, inside the fear.
Eventually, the timer did go off and I felt some relief. And while there was no great enlightenment in that time sitting, I felt one step closer to seeing myself through eyes of compassion.