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Archive for July, 2008

The past two days have been tough in terms of meditating. Maybe it’s the heat, but I’ve been overly agitated (both in and out of meditation), and my mind has been especially active — obsessing over details, planning, planning, planning. While I sit there, my mantra goes on auto-pilot and I’ve been thinking about what books I need to order (this one and this one, for example); what food I’ll make for an upcoming birthday party; what I need to return at Dick’s Sporting Goods; what pillows I might by at Bed, Bath, and Beyond; what I’m wearing to spin class today; what I might do at 11am when my meditation ends; and on and on like that.

I also spend a lot of time stressing about my dissertation, but doing nothing about it. I haven’t worked on it since May. My excuse has been this class that seems to swallow all of my time, but this (teaching one class and devoting ALL of my time to it) is not a realistic or sustainable model for teaching, researching/writing, and living a balanced life. Today, while on my little meditation bench, I made a vow to start working on it — even for short periods of time like and hour or two. I need a deadline and a schedule (I’m sure I’ll come up with one the next time I start meditating).

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Today I meditated for over a half hour. That is more than ten minutes longer than I have typically been meditating. Meditation has also been really tough lately because I haven’t been doing it daily — almost daily, but not quite. And that makes a huge difference in being able to get into the place of being present and relaxed and with my mantra. I’ve been learning enough to know that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a completely relaxed and present meditation for it to “count” or be a useful practice. Pema Chodron describes her meditation practice as being filled with a chattering mind. The “practice” part is about repeatedly coming back to the breath (or the mantra or whatever is that single point upon which you’re focusing). Still, I was restless and squirming.

Also, “hot girl mechanic” crept into my meditation, so that made me smile, and I found it a bit difficult to let go. I thought about Pema Chodron saying to let go of the storyline regardless of whether it is a pleasurable one — a really, juicy sexual fantasy — or a negative one — difficult childhood memories and such. However, she says you might sit with the feelings through the meditation. I’m not sure how that works for pleasurable feelings. It seems to make more sense for negative ones where repression might be ignoring the feeling, writing it off as just “thought” and not having to sit with it and work through it.

Lastly, I’ll mention that lately when I first begin my meditation I get this burst of excitement/agitation. It’s a weird jittery feeling that runs through my whole body, and it makes it difficult to settle down into the meditation. I’m not sure what that is or what it’s about, but I thought I’d put it out there. Maybe others have experienced a similar “rush.”

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