Meditation Los Angeles

Untethered

From the mouth of babes: “You’re on Twitter too much.” That did it for me. I deleted my Twitter and Facebook apps. I deactivated Facebook because it mostly just disgusts me. I can still tweet from the iPad, but it’s not gonna be 24/7. I was waking up with Twitter. I’m obsessive. I can’t have these things!

I downloaded Buddhify 2, also. I quite like it so far. So for 2014, more narrative (both in and out), less distraction. More meditation. Some unplugging involved, but just a cleanse I guess.

Before Guinness

I’m just getting back on track and very happy to report I decided to sit for 5 minutes before having a Guinness.

Now to enjoy.

Two Days in a Row

October was pretty dismal for meditation. Perhaps I sat twice. That’s the kind of streak that kills habits, but I somehow persuaded myself to sit for 10 minutes yesterday and today. It felt good!

Wings of Desire

This past week I sat — meaning, of course, meditated — three times and did not sit four times. Not so hot. I’ve fallen off meditating for 20 minutes and did a couple 10-minute sessions, too. Oh well. Today I sat for 20 minutes. I was again somewhat taken aback by the wash of blah blah blah thoughts — you know the stuff, unfinished business, to-do lists, grand schemes and how to execute them. But this is not one of those blogs, usually, where I spend a lot of energy sharing my hum drum blah blah blah thoughts.

A water main burst somewhere on our street last night. It’s burst before. It busts the street open and cracks spread from the tarmac right over into our house and into my fragile mind. Not having water is like camping. It’s fun if you’re camping. So I was in a bad mood this morning and in the car with the kids was cursing the traffic and really about to just let loose on a rant but stopped myself for a second and thought: equanimity. That moment when you hold the entire experience. Not just the thoughts, the emotions, but the experiencer — the witness. The part of you that is outside thoughts, emotions, sensations. Not identified with these things. Just watching. I tried to grab onto that. It is fleeting.

I think that’s part of what makes Wings of Desire such a delightful film. The angels are witnesses. Deprived of actually living, they observe and marvel at many of the every day experiences the characters are having, without being swept up in the thoughts and emotions (which, I suppose, they are not having) of the moment. You might say their experience is dispassionate, but it is not without sympathy. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but it was my impression that the angels are not distant, cerebral. Au contraire. My impression is that they were moved by the many of the experiences they observed.

This, I think, is a kind of ideal equanimity. (It makes me wonder if the film maker, Wim Wenders, is a Buddhist.) An equanimity that is not swept up by the emotions, sensations of everyday life, but nevertheless is deeply sympathetic to the experience. It is not empty or barren. There is kindness. And when we are feeling unkind toward the blah blah blah thoughts, kindness becomes invaluable.

Turning Down the Posterior Cingulate or Blah blah blah

Successfully back to 20 minutes of meditation. It had been 10 minutes for a while. And pretty regularly. I was inspired to add 2 minutes to the length of each of my sessions by the example of one of my “friends” on the insight meditation app.

Also, some interesting research from Judson Brewer re the posterior cingulate and how it’s implicated (and mostly not implicated) in flow states. It seems that turning off the blah blah blah part of the mind is healthy.

And no, that doesn’t mean regressing into a blissful narcissistic cocoon. Worth a look:

http://www.mindandlife.org/your-brain-on-meditation/

46 Days in a Row

Not currently, but not so long ago. Before the summer travel, which is one of the predictable things that gets in the way of practice. Not that it has to, but it does, if not attended to. I’ve been increasing my sits recently, by 2 minute increments. Thus, I am about to sit for 16 minutes. Increasing both consistency and duration. If this were running, that would be risky. But since it’s meditation, it’s just fine.

16 minutes. The mouth creates saliva, the mind creates thoughts. I’m enjoying focusing on posture a little, as also in the running.

Refugees of Mindfulness

Not my title, but a fascinating post re some of the risks of meditation – of interest to anyone new to meditation or introduced via mainstream psychology, MBSR, DBT, ACT, MBCT, etc.

Interesting!

It’s at the Aloha Dharma blog and is well worth a read!

Floss One Tooth

My 10 minutes a day meditation habit fills my mind with some dismissive thoughts, it’s true.

But in the vein of an injunction at Zen Habits, which I thought was brilliant, I am only committing to a minimum while I strengthen my habit. He said, for those trying to take up the habit of flossing, simply commit to flossing one tooth.

May seem trivial, but it’s not likely to be overwhelming, and one tooth may lead to another.

30 Days in a Row

That’s it. I would like that I be doing (which sounds very passive) longer sits, but am happy with the consistency for the time being.

First, lay down a habit.

I’ve been doing 10 minute meditations. Sometimes I decide which practice I’m going to do after I start, which is probably bad. Mostly it’s a mindfulness practice, lately more a focus on the breathe, that is to say, a concentration practice.

Nightstand Buddhists

If you’ve ever read that description and it cut you, you know who you are. If you’ve been imbibing of the McMindfulness, and imbibing deeply then you might have been lulled into the idea that you know something of mindfulness, Buddhism, both. You would be forgiven. If you’ve become comfortable with the terrain, are ready for a little more, why not try these links?

1. The Angry Asian Buddhist. Kind of self-explanatory. Written in America. Nice set of links, too.
2. Sujato’s Blog. I think he’s an Australian monk. Thoughtful, informed, well written.
3. Speculative Non-Buddhism. You have been warned! A group of academically inclined critics. This way to the rabbit hole.

I’m off to a quick meditation.

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