Meditation Los Angeles

Month: July, 2012

Forever Coupled with Meditation

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The pertinent Moby Dick quote:

Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries- stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.

Melville on the Island

Just had the great pleasure of hearing Nathaniel Philbrick lecture on Melville. A great meditation on creativity, writing, etc. Inspired to go back to “Bartleby the Scrivener” as well as the formidable Moby Dick and companion pieces, Billy Budd and so forth.

Philbrick has the gift of making it all so accessible. I really appreciate the fact that he gets (what I always suspected was) Melville’s great sense of humor. His take — that the book, written a decade just before the civil war, often enjoys a resurgence during trying times, the first one just after World War I, because it is a work about cataclysm, foreboding, crucible.

Delightful.

Location, Location, Location

Though I’ve employed some small measure of creativity in finding times and places for meditating, with six people in the house 4 out of 5 meditations has been interrupted — perhaps my favorite was the knock at the door by a tow-truck operator who was at the wrong address. I’ve not found a spot that I really like, there’s always that sense of momentary disruption in the wings, but I have found a couple that are adequate. Just after the jet lag faded into the background I caught a cold, so I have been also breathing mostly through the mouth, while meditating, and that’s different, too.

Still I have managed to sit every day. I’m trying to just be mindful of these difficulties, rather than get too bent out of shape or disheartened. I am looking forward to some nice, long sits when I get back to Los Angeles, though.

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Metta Travel

Armed with a good book and a number of free guided metta meditations, downloaded. Much awaits. Meditating on the the red eye, etc. Sporadic posting until August 7th or so.

Mindless

It’s disappointing when you find yourself snarling at someone. So much for the mindfulness. “So did you meditate today? Hit a roadblock?”

When I did a daylong retreat at InsightLA there was a discussion period. One person, shared a point from his teacher. The litmus test of your mindfulness practice is not your sitting, it’s how you live your life. I happened upon a section in a library book I borrowed, Living Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide for Daily Life edited by Georg Feuerstein and Stephan Bodian. Lo and behold it had a little section by Ken Wilber, “The Power and Limits of Meditation”. So challenging, so pithy!

The worst pitfall, I would say, is using meditation to “spiritually bypass” other concerns, concerns that can only be handled in their own terms or on their own level. People think that meditation will take care of their money problems, their sex problems, their food problems — and of course it won’t. What it will do is make you more sensitive and aware, and if you’ve got a painful life problem, meditation will probably just make it more painful because it will make you more sensitive…. If you’re doing meditation correctly, you are in for some very rough and frightening times. Meditation as a “relaxation response” is a joke…. Extraordinary stresses and conflicts come into play. All of this is just barely balanced by an equal growth in equanimity, compassion, understanding, awareness, and sensitivity, which makes the whole endeavor worthwhile.

This is followed by his 21 tips for meditation, which are worth looking up.

Last night I did a 15-minute sitting that was just like a war. I could not wait to stand up. It was really quite difficult. Then the 45 this morning was relatively calm.

Sigh, Another Idea Guy

Well, I am syncing a podcast at this very moment. Sharon Salzberg doing a guided meditation, lovingkindness. I found it at the IMS website, at their resources page. The sound is not great, but hey, it’s free. I hope to get at least one listen in during the travel. And of course, this thing.

I really enjoyed Batchelor’s Buddhism Without Beliefs, so fairly confident I’ll find something nutritious in this book, his most recent, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. And, yeah, he’s another idea man. What can I say? To some extent these are my people! In the meantime, I’m really enjoying Salzberg’s Faith — when she’s on she’s really on.

Earlier today got overwhelmed. Car trouble, even in the controlled environment of the auto shop, is trouble nonetheless. It’s not quite up there with, say, legal trouble. But it will stand in, in a pinch. Look forward to a time when I have the presence of mind to just meditate on that for a moment, in the moment. The nature of the overwhelm. Examine the experience. The idea guys aren’t much help at times like that.

According to my meditation timer, I’ve logged around 30 hours of meditation. On the one hand, I’m quite happy about this. On the other hand, it’s a big shrug, really. Counting things can be so inane, but it is motivating. And motivation is paramount at the moment.

Setting Aside the Idea Men

The books have been coming up from the basement in a flurry, but I’m setting most of them on a waiting shelf until my mind settles a bit. The clever guys, I’m putting them on hold. The idea men. Krishnamurti. Ken Wilber. Absolutely brilliant, but not the right stuff just now. One of them just skewered me with a something he said, about addiction to ideas. Ideas can be a flight, avoidance. For now I found a Sharon Salzberg title, Faith. I do tend to shy away from her stuff, for various reasons, so time to dive in. The writing is compelling. It feels like a good antidote to the heady stuff.

Had an unusual meditation at 2:30 a.m. the other night when I could not sleep. The breathe was unusually deep and satisfying. It’s often quite shallow in the morning after sleep. I continue to meditate about 40 minutes daily. Looking to find a good guided lovingkindness meditation, for free, on the web.