Doctors, magazines and self-help books all recommend meditation as a way to relax, relive stress and restore harmony and balance of body and soul. Is it really like that? Or does meditation feel like hard work, fell like you are moving faster not slowing down? So you do what any modern person does when they want to learn a new skill – you take a course in it. 10 day course, the easy and fast way to enlightenment.
So what is the real experience of doing a meditation course? Getting into the present moment ? Aren’t you always in the present moment? and anyway, what is so special about the present, when there are so many other moments both past, future, or simply imagined that are more enticing?
With so many documented benefits achievable from just sitting still and observing breath, thoughts, aching back or whatever, you’d think a goal-oriented over achiever like me would want to plonk herself down, cross her legs and embark on a salubrious spiritual journey. Instead, I’ve opted to remain in the self-destructive but comfortably familiar state of rushing around madly so I can live in every other moment except the present one.
…says Jennifer in a long and jaunty blog on last Saturday’s workshop.
Meditation is hard work when you are starting out, or restarting, or when your mind is seve3rely distracted. Really, if the meditation is blissful and peaceful, it is more likely the result of the work you put in in the past, rather than a sudden eureka that enables you to ‘get it now’. Whenever you ‘get it’ you can be assured you’ll lose it just as fast. Putting in the hours is what it is about; the peace is something that springs up as a result of the previous work.
Labelling and letting go of the six senses can get confusing..
I was OK with the naming sensations part, but labeling abstract mental states (“thinking, thinking, thinking,” “judging, judging, judging,” or “sadness, sadness, sadness,”) made me totally “frenetic, frenetic, frenetic.” Can an already blocked writer choose the word that best describes her emotional state while simultaneously trying to remain serene and calm?
Eventually the labelling can stop, and you just see what is happening. Being in the ‘seeing’ you are not the one who is seeing, hearing, thinking etc.. you are somewhere more stable and quiet. This underlying nature of the mind, the awareness behind all your consciousness, becomes more apparent, and you become adept at gaining that distance from your mentality that endlessly creates and agitates. Don’t write yourself off. You don’t have to be a monk – in fact most serious monks ordain because they are not so good with this process rather than because they are experts. Meditation is very much a process of restructuring what we think meditation should be, and getting to grips with being aware of what is, rather than what we want things to be, noted Jennifer…
Actually I do realize that Vipassana is not about conquering mental obstacles. It’s about noticing them, acknowledging them, and watching them disappear in a puff of impermanence