Sunday, July 13, 2014

Meditate, Meditate, and What Was that Other Thing? Oh, yeah. Meditate.: On Joining with Meditation

This week's tenet is straightforward. Understandable even to people who aren't trying to constantly wrap their heads around ancient teachings, no doubt:
Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.
The translation at isn't necessary for understanding, but it does add more depth: "Work with whatever you encounter, immediately." Unlike with the last few tenets I've examined, the explanatory paragraph at that site adds even more:
All experience is in the present. You either open to it right now or you fall into reactive patterns and reinforce them. (Source.)
Even though I felt fairly confident I had a grasp of where to go with this teaching, I still consulted Tricycle, and I'm glad I did. Right at the beginning of Lief's discussion, it resonated super strongly:
When our lives are going relatively smoothly and predictably it is easier to maintain our mindfulness. But when things are happening fast, it is hard to remember to join what we encounter with meditation. It is also easier to think of others if we ourselves are not currently either in the midst of some crisis or caught up in some amazing opportunity. But it seems that no matter how hard we try to stay on an even keel, we keep being blindsided by unexpected events. (Source.)
All I can say in response is, "Guilty as charged." I do manage to meditate every week, but I have a hard time with every day. I've gotten to the point lately where I can make myself sit down by promising myself I only have to do 5-10 minutes. I know that's enough, really, but I miss being able to sustain the concentration and find time for 20 minutes daily. However, that's not the point of this tenet. No, the point of joining "with meditation" isn't about chastising myself for not meditating. It's about noticing when I'm not and trying to figure out why I'm not. I'm still working on not judging my actions, as I wrote about last week, and this exhortation to work with whatever, immediately, is another way to do that. Another way to be aware.

Not much interpretation needed here, at any rate. A pretty straightforward tenet, so I'll close with Lief's suggestion for working with this teaching:
In order to join experience and meditation, it is helpful to begin by noticing when that does not happen. So today’s practice is to pay attention to “losing it.” Strangely, simply seeing such moments more clearly, without too much judgment or commentary, is a way to extend an attitude of practice more consistently and deeply into our ongoing activities. (Same source as previous Tricycle quote.)
So that's what I'll be working on. Until the next time, namaste and all that. 

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