Not every day is the same as the last I recall blogging yesterday, I guess life would be very boring if it was. Every day brings its own challenges. Every day brings its own hurdles. It’s how we approach or choose to tackle such challenges and hurdles that makes us what we are.
Today I had early morning calls, combined with feeling quite sleepy due to my early morning rises (not “risers” – that jokes getting old now), I decided to postpone my dawn-tide meditation session until the evening. I didn’t faze me though which is the good thing. The old me would have been really negative about it, thinking to myself “oh here we go, three days in and the rot is already starting to set in”. Not this time. The momentum I have had since starting my Level 2 journey is gaining pace (although it was a bit turbulent for the first few days), I’m in a really good place right now, everything in the universe appearing at present to be operating in perfect synchronicity. Fully confident that my present state of mind would get me through the day, on went the clobber and away I went.
The good thing about being busy on a project is “Tempus Fugit”. Looking at my wrist-clock, in the blink of an eye it was already 11:20am, almost lunchtime which today involved a haircut. It has been said that I change my look more frequently than I change my underpants (which isn’t that far from the truth to be fair), but looking in the mirror this morning made my mind up. It has also been said that I am quite vain, which I guess I have been in the past but as I have (*ahem*) matured somewhat over the last 18 months, the way I look has had a much less importance than the previous primadonna me. That said, my reflection today told me to get my locks off, my fine hair lank and having the look of two badly drawn curtains.
Coming back refreshed and cropped the afternoon session at work also flew by fast, and I’ve finished what I had needed to do by 4:30pm, so time to scribe the daily entry for the day before. Upon entering the ASCII code into the Google-box for “seated meditation” images, I stumbled across a picture of the British comedian Russel Brand, who I have long thought was a bit of a **** to be honest. That was until about three months ago when I saw him being interviewed on the BBC (by the oaf Jeremy Paxman) regarding the state of global politics/economics. The interview was absolutely superb, and probably the most thought provoking and real political/economic debate I had heard for a long time. So my respect for Brand grew in an instant, no longer a narcissistic tosspot (well no longer a tosspot).
Brand is a practitioner of meditation, a self-confessed former heroin addict who now operates on the positive plain and he is (although quite crude at times) good to watch in stand-up, much better when he taunts interviewers and politicians.
The image when clicked in the Google-box took me through to an interesting page on Zazen Meditation. So it appears that my morning meditation ritual was in fact Zazen or Zen meditation in practice. As wiki explains:
“In Zen Buddhism, zazen (literally “seated meditation”) is a meditative discipline practitioners perform to calm the body and the mind, and be able to concentrate enough to experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment
Zazen is considered the heart of Zen Buddhist practice. The aim of zazen is just sitting, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.
The posture of zazen is seated, with folded legs and hands, and an erect but settled spine. The hands are folded together into a simple mudra over the belly. In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the hara (the centre of gravity in the belly) and the eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli.
The initial stages of training in zazen usually emphasize concentration, by focusing on the breath at the hara, often aided by counting. This counting meditation is called susokukan, and has several variations. Through this practice one builds up the power of concentration, or joriki. At some Zen centers, the practice of mentally repeating a mantra with the breath is used in place of counting breaths for beginners. In some communities, or sanghas, the practice is continued in this way until there is some initial experience of samadhi or “one-pointedness” of mind. At this point the practitioner moves to one of the other two methods of zazen”.
Ok I had my own slant / spin on zazen by incorporating reiki, but I think I have hit on something, even if that something is personal only to me.
Further insights into the methods for zazen can be found on wikihow.
After work it was time for celebration. My eldest is now seventeen, making me feel momentarily more mature than I would have liked. We had a nice meal, a few laughs, an amazing cake from his girlfriend and it was back to base to slob out in front of TV for an hour before bed. After taking his girlfriend back home, I collapsed into bed, mindful that I had not kept to my promise of an even-tide meditation session, but even more enthusiastic about tomorrow mornings session…