February 17, 2010

Musing about Meditation

I started thinking about this entry while I was meditating,
the observer part of me chronicling and ready to report like a media announcer:

“Now I am observing my breath,
feeling the in and out at my nostrils and the rising and falling of my chest.”

I think this is funny. I am struggling with myself not to multi-task, to just sit quietly and try not to describe sitting quietly.

“How many times have I meditated over the last few weeks?”
I resist opening my eyes to look at the chart that I have checked off.
"17 out of 28 days? Something like that? What is that as a fraction? More than half...
Oh... I am... thinking, thinking. Get back to my breath.”

What is it Sharon Salzberg says in her basic meditation instructions?
“It's OK,
the mind has been trained to be distracted,
If you have to begin again a million times in the course of one sitting,
That is the practice.”

And so I keep labeling my thoughts "planning" or “thinking” and then refocusing on my breath, on one breath at a time, the simple movement of in and out.

My intention is to sit quietly on most days for about twenty minutes.
Isn’t it funny that it is so difficult to make time daily to just sit quietly?

Then why do I do it? I’ve read so much about the benefits but try not to have great expectations.
Partly to see if I can, and maybe to understand why I can't. To track my resistance to slowing down. And to sometimes experience that sweet momentary serenity and satisfaction with myself.
That's my Intention.


  1. Barbara,

    I totally remember you and I'm glad you're following my blog. I'd be honored to have you quote me. I'm reading your blog as well and it's amazing how different we can be. I'm in Miami for a month--one week with oldest daughter and husband and two kids and three weeks with other daughter, husband and two kids. The main things we hate are museums and Broadway plays. We like to eat at outdoor restaurants near the beach, and swim in the pool. I just finished reading Julie Powell's book Julie and Julia which is about her experience as a blogger.

  2. Robin,

    It's nice to be remembered -- and I think we'll chat a bit differently when we next meet -- at your store.

    I like your "living in your zip code" philosophy...but not one that I feel I can adhere too. I have too often said that I need to travel for community. I also travel to work part-time...I have an office in my home but the other office is in Binghamton, a 35 minute drive and a few zip codes away.
    I live in a small rural village -- smaller and with many less resources than the Woodstock area. Yet it has its wonderful attributes and we like our property and neighbors.

    And, yes, we have lived in cities before -- Alan and I decades ago (NYC/Brooklyn) and Rebecca lived in Boston. I don't long to live back in that environment but I do love theater and good restaurants and small museums.

  3. Your posts on meditation are inspirational. We are truly one being, with complex interactions between mind and body, and we must take responsibility for this profound and intricate connection.

  4. Roanne,

    It's been a long time since we have been in contact. Glad that you are here.

    Thanks for your comments -- this is a topic we certainly will write more about...