Day 13 – Baby Steps
I believe I actually managed to meditate in full awareness for ten minutes today before any emotions and reactions came up to challenge my practice.
As it’s easy to forget, and like the Buddha has said, each drip fills the bucket; each drip fills the bath. These little baby steps we make everyday, whether they are two steps forward or one step back, keep filling the bucket. And today was definitely one of those days.
Why I feel the need to reach a meditation practice of 30 minutes a day after only 5 days of meditating everyday I have no idea. It’s definitely my ego in play, so I was glad that today’s lesson included wisdom about striving. It also encouraged me to stick with the 15 minute meditation that Gil suggested at the start of the Intro to Meditation classes. Those 15 minutes may be bliss or they may be torture, but they are a good starting point; a good drip to start filling up my cup.
The itching started again in the last 5 minutes, but it seemed to appear simply because I realized during the meditation that I hadn’t felt the intense itching that I’ve had in the last 4 sessions. I felt tingling here and there, but nothing that got me scratching or moving. Once I noted the lack of itching, what happened? Yup… I started to itch again. This reaction definitely gives lots of weight to the idea that the itching is just a physical reaction caused by deep concentration or my ego trying to thwart my mindfulness efforts.
I began by following Gil’s instruction and focused as much as I could on the itching to prevent myself from giving up and scratching. I believe I succeeded for the most part. That is, until one of my legs fell asleep. At this point I tried just wiggling my toes to bring my leg back from sleep, but that broke my concentration, so I took myself out of the meditation. As I hadn’t expected, the meditation then continued on for another 15 minutes on the podcast. I was therefore glad I had stopped at the 15 minute mark as 30 would have been too much of a challenge for myself at this stage in my practice.
While I waited for the class to conclude their meditation session I took the time to appreciate what I had achieved in today’s lesson rather than judge myself for not achieving the 30 minute goal. I also took a moment to realize that these classes are posted over 5 weeks, with one session being done every week after which the practitioners can practice the lessons at home on their off days before returning for the next installment. What I have been trying to achieve here by doing a lesson every day does not exactly give me the chance to build up my practice before we hit the 30 minute meditation mark!
It’s funny how our interpretation of reality can be so wrong. A flower is a flower. A person is a person. Our comparisons of these things are what bring suffering into our lives. My comparison of myself to the other practitioners in the lessons so far created stress and suffering over not being able to achieve such long meditation sessions as them. My comparison of myself to others daily also creates suffering in my life based around my worth mentally and physically compared to others.
What a ridiculous way to spend your time, comparing one thing to another, when really the whole is perfect as it is. It makes me glad that I’ve edited out the news websites and gossip magazines I once had in my bookmarks and ‘Top Sites’ on Safari. I knew they were just fueling the suffering fire and taking away precious time for writing and F2F time. At least that’s one baby step I’ve taken and I can now be much more mindful of using these sites when I do succumb to the temptations.
Another baby step I wish to focus on in the coming weeks, apart from daily meditation, is mindfulness around activities I do everyday. These activities are washing the dishes, preparing lunches for myself and my family, and cooking dinner. I’m always very quick to reach for my favorite tunes on my iPod or switch on the TV to watch some dull reality show simply to escape the task at hand. While I say I hate doing these tasks, or often don’t feel in the mood, it always amazes me how enjoyable an experience they can be if I’m mindful of what I’m doing and think of the reasons behind these activities. Being mindful helps me feel more compassionate towards my family and therefore feel that I have used my time wisely even though they are not activities I would normally choose to spend time doing.
These new baby steps will no doubt start me down another segment of my long path. It remains to be seen what experiences I get from them, and I believe they will be subtle and a long time in the noticing. However, as long as I’m trying that’s really all that matters. Really, what can be the harm in meditating for 15 mins everyday and being mindful of my household chores? Nothing as far as I can see, so it’s worth the practice.
#deepdive – 15 mins