30 Days of Meditation: day 19

Nothing remarkable to say about this session. There is not a lot of progression going on in my practice this week.

I’m having moments where I’m at least in the room (though not quite concentrating on the breath), but these are interspersed with long periods where my brain is quite simply ‘off on one’.

But I’m not going to stress about it. For one thing that would do nothing but create further impediments. And for another it’s no surprise. I’m in the middle of night shifts, with what little downtime I have being disturbed by builders. I feel like I haven’t had a good rest in weeks, and it’s starting to wear me down. As I sit here now I can barely keep my eyes open.

Hopefully the work will be finished some time very soon (I thought today but it appears not), then I can get the lie in I’ve been craving for so long (you see how damaging attachments to desires can be!). I’m not back in work until Friday night, so one day this week maybe. Fingers crossed.

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30 Days of Meditation: day 18

It’s amazing how you can never be short of distractions when you sit down to meditate. When there’s not something outside trying to engage your brain your mind creates all sorts of things to get your attention.

Today I had a nice simple case of stomach rumbling to deal with. Part of the problem with night shifts is your get up at 3pm after about six hours kip and your body is all confused. It wants breakfast because it just got up, but it’s the middle of the afternoon. Is it snack time or time for a full on meal?

And really there’s no answer (except get a proper job). You can’t eat until you’ve exercised, as you don’t want to make yourself sick. Or if you do eat you have to wait two hours for everything to work it’s way through a bit. So you either get on with it or you decide to put it off ’til later.

I got on with it. After yesterday’s ‘forgetting’ I wanted it done in good time. But that meant I had the stomach rumblings to deal with, and as distractions go they’re a doozie. I think it’s no coincidence that the day Buddha became enlightened he’d just had a small meal of rice pudding before he sat down. That just underlines the ethos of the Middle Way for me. No point going hungry if you don’t have to. There’s nothing to be gained by it.

And it underlines the need for regular practice too. If your body knows it’ll get fed an hour or two after you’ve got up it doesn’t worry about it, provided you get up at about the same time each day. If you get up when it expects to be fed, well…

30 Days of Meditation: day 17

You’ll have to forgive me, I’m doing a wee bit of catch up here. It’s hard to squeeze everything in at the moment. Such are the joys of doing night shifts.

In fact, with all the building work and that that’s going on I kind of forgot to meditate today. That is, I remembered I’d forgotten whilst on my way to work. But, since everything that happens is an opportunity in disguise, I decided to give sitting meditation a try (there’s no way I’m going cross legged on the floor at work – it’s not the cleanest).

You need a chair of decent enough height, one where when you sit on it your thighs are about level with the floor. Swivel chairs aren’t the best as you want a solid base but since that’s all I had access to so must it be.

You want to sit on the edge of the chair, not leaning against the back, with your body upright and your weight centred upon your sit bones. I had my legs opening out slightly with my feet flat on the floor at a distance so that my thighs were level. The important thing is to be in a comfortable position that you can maintain for a long time.

Since I couldn’t cup my hands in front of me, there being nothing but space for me to rest them on, I instead put them on my knees (or rather, just behind my knees – far enough back so that my shoulder were relaxed) palm up with my hands in chin mudra, thumb and fore finger touching.

The main benefit for this type of sitting posture is it doesn’t hurt your legs like sitting cross legged does. There’s no constriction to block the blood flow. I have to say I found that a definite plus.

The downside of doing this type of meditation at work is all the distractions. Never mind all the noise that goes with a large, open plan office (I could have gone “round the corner” but the rooms there are small, oppressive, and full of buzzing electronic equipment – bad chi), I was meditating during my lunch break, and once the idea that I hadn’t set my timer correctly and that I’d forget to go back had set in there was no shifting it.

And rushing back to work isn’t the best either. You need space after you meditate for the mind to settle I reckon, for all the good work you’ve done to really take root. After all, they say meditation begins when you get up off your mat. The sitting is just a way of practicing something you should be doing in real life. I mean that is the goal, to cultivate a state of mind that you can take through your every day.

But anyway, I did it. I learnt from the experience, and I still haven’t missed a day. A win all round I reckon.

30 Days of Meditation: day 16

Well, today’s session was a total bust.

I forgot to turn off the fridge, I forgot to put my computer to sleep, there was a builder scrape scrape scraping outside my window, and to top it all I got a phone call 6 minutes before the end. So with all that noise etcetera I didn’t get much meditating done.

Plus, after answering the phone the change in position let some blood rush into my legs, so when I tried to sit again I had wicked pins and needles in my feet. I stuck it out for the last few minutes but it was over, I couldn’t concentrate properly after all that.

Ah well, they can’t all be winners can they? 🙂

30 Days of Meditation: day 15

I actually haven’t sat yet. Going to do it after I’ve done this. I just don’t want to have to start typing once I’ve calmed my mind. I’m tired and I need to go to bed. These night shifts are killing me.

There is one thing though. With today being pay day I fully intended to get myself a new cushion to sit on. As you can probably tell I need one. Unfortunately the ones at the Yoga Centre are £40 (forty quid!) and there’s no way I’m shelling that much out for a cushion. I’ll just have to shop about a bit, see what I can come up with.

It’s an expensive business this becoming enlightened thing. Makes you wonder how they managed it in days of old. 😛

30 Days of Meditation: day 14

I tried sitting a bit further back on the cushion to see if that made a difference to my legs going numb, and it did. They went numb a lot faster and actually got a bit painful towards the end.

I couldn’t stand it. I had to shift my position to try and get some blood flow going. But that only made things worse as the pins and needles kicked in. It made meditating very, very difficult.

Got to come up with a solution for this. It’s not helping.

30 Days of Meditation: day 13

Today was interesting. For the first time since I started this I actually wanted to sit down and meditate. Actually, that’s not true. I always want to do it, but today there was a certain need I’ve not had before.

I was going to delay, do it later, as the workmen are back and there’s lots of noise round about, but thinking about it I realised that I really wanted to do it right away rather than wait. There was a desire to be still…

Hmm, now there’s a thing. I’m meant to be learning not to become attached to my desires, and yet here I am giving in to one. Now there’s something to think about. Not that I’m going to beat myself up over the idea. As the Buddha said, you can have positive addictions (like meditation, exercise, etc.). I just need to watch out for the moment when choice becomes need.

I will be glad when all the work is done round the back of the house. It’s quite hard to meditate with all the noise going on round here.

Today I attempted switch off my internal dialogue. It’s all too easy for you to think in words, for you to say to yourself ‘hmm, I went away for a long time there’, rather than just being aware of it. It worked to a degree though I did end up just thinking in pictures instead, which isn’t entirely helpful. But maybe it’s a step in the right direction.