Hi, folks! It’s been a while. I’ve been all sorts of busy lately, with classes, work, and taking care of stuff that is even more challenging than blogging, believe it or not, including setting up a new blog. I cannot tell you how much I loathe making the countless decisions a new blog requires. But I’ve also decided it’s important, so it’s taken me away from writing time. I’ll let you know when that’s good to go.
I did hit up a 2-day Vipassana retreat last weekend, which is a good way to kick off the re-initiation of the writing life. Not so great, maybe, when you start composing blog pieces in your head as you’re supposed to be meditating, but that’s what happened. Accepting what comes up is just as important as redirecting back to the body & breath, right? Since pen and paper aren’t allowed on retreat, I’ll try to recall my no-doubt-brilliant ideas as best I can.
My mulling was not over the practice of meditation, but meditation itself as practice for life. This is the reason I meditate, and probably the reason I keep going back to Vipassana, despite the rules and rigor, instead of some other practice (well, that and the commitment to financial accessibility). I don’t meditate to reduce stress or relax or be happier, though that happens. I meditate in order to make myself a better person. Not better in the sense of more ethical or helpful or kind (though they tend to latch on like burrs, too), but better in the sense of less judgmental and less reactive. To me this is the key to everything I want.
If I can sit through a burning pain in my leg without walking away, maybe I can listen to a coworker say something offensive without throwing a correction in their face. If I can sit with that pain without labeling it bad, maybe I can accept the person without labeling them racist and have enough compassion for their unavoidable experience to find out where that comment came from and engage them in a discussion that might create a space for them to hear me (and me them), instead of defending themselves against my impulsive reaction. If I can allow waves of tingling sensations to flow through my body without seeking to hang onto them, or mourning their departure when pain inevitably returns, then the next time I’m walking down the street laughing with friends and someone approaches me for money, maybe I can meet them squarely and fairly in that moment without being angry about the intrusion of the world on my fun time.
And maybe, maaaaaaaaaaybeeeeee if I can stop critiquing my experiences as good or bad, I can stop likewise critiquing myself.
Oh, I also intend to reach enlightenment. And end all my suffering. Cranking the sitting back up to an hour a day should do it. Onward!