Because I’ve enjoyed reading about other people’s meditation practice, I will share some thoughts on my own meditation practice.
A few years ago, if asked, “how do you practice”, I would have replied:
Every morning I meet with Vietnamese monks and listen to their chanting. I hang around the temple, eat food, and help with various things.
While listening, I am practicing awareness of sound. Because I don’t know the language, I hear the sound. I explore the interaction between the sense object and the sense mind, and with deep focus, petty things fade away.
During the beginning of the chanting, I help keep rhythm with a little bell, but after a time, there are no more bells. The monk, Thich Hue Nhan, takes control, producing wild rhythms with traditional Vietnamese drums and his beautiful voice. The only thing I consciously recognize is a Vietnamese version of “GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA”– and the mentions of “A DI DA PHAT” / Amitabha.
After the ~1 hour of chanting, we sit in silence for a half hour.
Throughout the rest of the day I practice walking meditation and study of various sutras.
Looking back and forth.
I wouldn’t argue with my past self. His practice was pretty sweet. My current self is just unable to keep that up. A whole bunch of things have quickly changed.
Now, I am alone. Well, I have friends and I see my children frequently. Buut, I am basically homeless (currently existing by the compassion of friends). Working is difficult because I have type 1 diabetes, and I generally have problems participating in the whole capitalism thing.
The ‘problems’ are many, but there is a part of this process that is not perturbed. Many of the pieces are frustrated, but deep down, there is no disturbance– just like the ocean’s surface is churned by wind, but the depths are still, my life is in chaos, but the foundation is solid.
Due to extremely high blood sugar, I passed out and hit a tree at 60 mph (I’ve been getting drowsy with high blood sugar for a while now). That was an intense experience. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for extreme blood sugar events. Things are wild. Yet, I can say that in the depths of recent physical and emotional pain, things weren’t really that bad.
Anticipation of future pain is much worse than dealing with actual pain in the present. In the present, when you are already in a lot of pain, it is ‘just the way it is’. There is nothing to do.
Squirming around all frightened about some future thing is the really yucky thing. Realizing this, I feel much less fear.
Now, if you asked me, “how do you practice meditation”, I might say something like:
Since I crashed the car, my knee has been bugging me. I can no longer sit in that yummy lotus position. So, I’ve begun to explore awareness of other postures. I miss lotus. It is beneficial for the breath. It just helps open everything up.
Since my body has broken a bit, I’ve had to spread my practice over sitting, standing, walking, and lying down– more than ever before. Walking, I am aware that I am walking. The same goes for any action. That is the goal.
In any situation, mindfulness is key.
I miss my Vietnamese friends. But, things change. I gotta keep walking. Gotta keep that Dhamma Wheel spinning.
- I still bow to that infinite Buddha-Nature present within all sentient beings.
- I still bow to that Dhamma which is the unfolding of these Buddha-Natures, as they play out karmic stories on the spaceTime realm.
- I still bow to that infinite sangha, that community of Buddhas-to-be– the infinite sentient beings have my love.