End of the first month

Today is the last day of my first full month of sitting daily.

I’m pleased that I actually accomplished zazen for 30 minutes every day. This may be the first time in nearly four years of meditation that I’ve sat for 31 consecutive days.

I’d heard how beneficial it is to meditate daily and wanted to investigate that personally.

Over the month, I experienced myself as a living, changing body-mind system.

I noticed I experience foreground and background inside my awareness.

I discovered that attention and awareness are not the same. Attention exists inside awareness. Attention moves from phenomenon to phenomenon–a thought, an itch, a memory, a plan, an emotion, an ache.

Awareness is everything.

A couple of days it’s been difficult to sit. I’ve been cranky and totally failed to find serenity and stillness. I can back off, look at the bigger picture of my life, and find compassion.

Because of those experiences, I’m modifying my rules. If I can’t breathe through my nose, don’t sit. And if external conditions for sitting do not bode well (i.e., noise), create better conditions or wait for change.

I often find myself sitting in a state of quiet bliss. One day that was amplified so much that I simultaneously felt like I was drunk, in love, and immersed in water, all at the same time.

My teacher says when that happens, I can take it as a sign that I’m on the right track. It’s a guest who shows up in meditation sometimes.

She also says that aches, pains, and stiffness–the physical discomfort from prolonged sitting–are part of the experience. It’s material to explore and work with.

Yes, I can give up self-punishment! Or so I hear! I look forward to knowing I’ve done that.

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