Vipassana Meditation 18 March
Awake at three-something, back to the cushion that’s been waiting for me while I squirm and shirk, and yet somehow I always want to return. It’s the realest thing I know. Not the cushion, the practice. Take away the drama and keep it simple. An inner smile as I sat down, and soon a sense of returning home. Layers I have added over the years, various attempts at an attitude, a self in the world, fading away or seen as superfluous. Almost immediately the right arm, doing some kind of Rod Hull & Emu thing again. Later the neck. Later the head, shaking side to side. That’s always the wildest, not in terms of movement, although it is strong, but it’s like there’s nothing left inside the head but the left right movement of it. Deep tension in right shoulder and neck, and then mostly the lips and mouth. Major pouts seemingly undoing years of reacting to this world. A sense that I don’t need to operate like I thought I had to: some kind of artificial coolness, some kind of fitting in. There’s a simpler way, a truer self – dare I put it that way. Glad to be back at it, this non-at-it-ing. There’s nothing else for it. Left to own devices the habit and the norms sweep me on along. Lay an anchor into the cushion and let it all sweep by a while.
Back to the old moving attention through the body from the head, part by part, all the way down to the toes and back again. For an hour. I was reluctant to begin, preferring just to carry on with my routines, which basically means on a free evening: browsing watching listening reading. So I did some exercises for the fitness class that I’m attending and then I was more connected and with my intuition, so I decided, before I could find any more excuses, to just sit down. Why is sitting down the hardest thing? Just sitting still. It’s clear why I’m running, why we are running. Running from ourselves is the cliche, but I’d say we are running from our bodies. There’s so much in the body, so much to avoid, so much awkwardness, so much stored, so much, well, sensation. And this practice is great for learning to observe and not respond. Of course there are responses. I can’t help that. But just to remain equal, to be aware of them all, the many many different sensations, from the most delightful tingles and energy movement through to intense pain in the face around the mouth, in the cheeks, and in the arches of the feet. It amazes me how one minute the shoulders can be the stiffest, most aching they have ever felt, and then, some intensity later, the most relaxed and free. This is real work and I’m not giving up on it.