Thursday, 2 December 2010

Eliminate comfortableness #Reverb10

December 2: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

So... to reinterpret this, what do I do each day that doesn't contribute to my Dharma practice that I can eliminate?

Good question and even though I am loath to admit it and even publish it in writing, I think my answer is: comfortableness.

Almost everyday I let myself relax my mind in a lazy and comfortable way when I am meditating. I enjoy being comfortable while meditating, sitting still, being quiet, the body and mind held gently... and slipping over from holding gently to sitting comfortably. Staying in familiar territory, not going beyond the known into the unknown, not venturing into the zone of beginners mind, of fresh and alert awareness.

People often think meditation is a kind of relaxation and indeed some forms of meditation might well be, but Chan ('Chinese Zen') Meditation is actually a rigorous discipline, a strength training for the mind, for awareness, for letting go. It can produce a great deal of relaxation in life, in the sense that many situations can be experienced with a whole lot less tension or stress, but it's not relaxing in the sense of being lazy, sloppy and not-bothered about making an effort.

Chan meditation is about being alert and focussed in a gentle, mindful and precise way, not holding anything too tightly, but not leaving the method either. It is not about slipping away into some other warm comfortable, floating, detached kind of space. And if I'm honest with myself, I often do allow myself to be lazy and comfortable in meditation, enjoying the familiarity of it.

So from tomorrow, more focus on the meditation method, more rigour, brighter awareness and less comfort.


I'm participating in
Reverb10 and reflecting on my Dharma practice (i.e. life!) in 2010 as explained briefly in a previous post. Feel free to join in on your blog and/or add your comments on my reflections.


Barry said...

There are so many ways to approach this thing we call "meditation."

Norman Fischer recently wrote that "meditation" is what you do when you meditate. It was his way of saying that our actual experience during meditation isn't terribly important.

I wonder about this...

Puerhan said...

It is an interesting enquiry! I would certainly agree that sometimes going through the form of the whole sitting meditation ritual is what matters, and yet sometimes the opposite is also true, regardless of the ritual and form meditation is the state of the mind and awareness.

Thanks for joining in Barry! _/\_