the calm meditator’s endeavor

POSTCARD#348: Bangkok: It’s been many months since I was an active meditator. The headache 24/7 pushed that out of reach. But I’m looking into ways of finding a direction into meditation from my memory of it. Thoughts return of course but I still have the calm meditator’s endeavor to escape from this prison realm to the extended spaces of meditation, and maybe I’ve found the way out.

No need to get rid of the thinking mind, just be aware of it; all the garbage about Donald Trump in YouTube videos, copies of segments from CNN and MSNBC. This has been a habitual thing for me – I’m sorry to say – but something tells me I’m not the only one. The news is, I’ve more or less found a way to say goodbye to this. Begin by stopping the videos in arbitrary places for long enough to forget the sequence of events, the story of it and the mind slips away into the silence.

This is Insight meditation, not necessarily Buddhist meditation you don’t have to be a Buddhist to do it. The intention is to gain insight. Follow the breathing and observe these long stretches of silence, thoughts return of course but I’m not going to prevent that from happening. The thinking mind goes on tumbling and falling, like dice showing the numbers that result. Then it changes to something totally different… let it! All I need to do is be aware that it’s there.

So I’ll continue with the ‘voice’ of the uninstructed meditator looking into the experience of self-hood running parallel to the ongoing description of events,

Who am I? Am I my thoughts, contained in here, in this body? Everything is happening ‘here’ – this ‘here-ness’ surrounds me everywhere I go. Out there is the rest of the world – but where does the ‘out there’ begin? Where does my here-ness end? Where’s the edge of it? An innate knowledge tells me I am more than the here-ness that surrounds me, I am all of it!

Too much to take on board right now…. a tornado of orderly chaos beyond my comprehension. I can’t get far enough back to see how the pattern is structured. I prefer to separate things, bit by bit and the familiarity of the thinking thing helps me to do that.

All that is required is I need to be aware of the content of thoughts and beware of the wayward thinking mind; the joys and sorrows. It’s been said so many times, watch out for the pitfalls, and the ground beneath my feet giving way to that whole nother thing.

And that could easily be the trump phenomenon, donalding around doing his thing in our collective consciousness, a toxic environment. It’s the things we love to hate. Tugged here and there, a captive audience. Living in constant anticipation of his next move; how he seems emboldened by some small event we thought would be the end of him but somehow it seems it has given him a little bit of political wiggle room.

Everything about the thinking mind rejects the image. I don’t want it to be like this! the only reason it has remained like this is a kind of habitual adherence to that unruly group of harmful thoughts. Use the thinking mind to be the gatekeeper. Clear out the thoughts, let them go – it’s been said so many times, switch off the TV, the devices, get unplugged. Disconnect… lose the signal, who cares?

So where are the edges that separate me from everything else out there? Is it the surface of my skin… does it end here? Is this the extent of myself? But on that nano-scale, the pores of the skin, a fluidity of stuff hurtling right through us, in and out, all the time. There’s electrons and neutrinos that are constantly zinging through us and everything else… how can it be?

Inspired by a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sucitto

11 thoughts on “the calm meditator’s endeavor

  1. Best wishes to you as you forge your way through meditating with pain. I recently rewatched “The Matrix”, and learned of Edward Bernays. Seeing that most media has the goal of shaping our thoughts and views towards someone else’s goal went a long way towards losing my desire to engage in it. Realizing that the blog world is part of that, I obviously haven’t completely “gone beyond” all media yet. But you’re right: what happens if you lose the signal? Wishing for you some time ahead of being pain-free, or if not, continued spiritual success as you deal with the dukkha of chronic pain.

    • Thanks for this comment, I hadn’t thought of the Matrix backdrop to my searching for a way out. You’re right, the metallic quality definitely fits. I’ve written before about the metal lock-down, really up close and there’s just no getting away from it. My journey continues through all this, your gesture of support is meaningful

  2. I second the above comment. It can be hard to break the habit of news etc and easy to slip back into it. Of course WP is also a kind of social media but it does tend to have a different quality, depending on what and who you read and follow. Wishing you all the best with the management and hopefully eventual disappearance of the H.

    • Thanks Rachel, I’m pretty sure that WP is the way to go. Just having the wherewithal to write this reply to your comment is enough for me to say I can’t let this go. It’s enough to turn my my inclination towards a more wholesome direction.

    • Thanks Ben for these two links I’ll have a read and see if there’s anything arising. My case is a bit different these days, everything is done in a state of urgency (I could say mild urgency but that doesn’t describe it).Physically things have gone a bit down hill, I have to live with much more shaking and the twitch of course. This crreates fear and uncertainty. Constant dry mouth and the consumption of water is alarming. Sometimes I’ll not be aware of H for 2 or 3 hours and that’s a great relief. Really good to hear from you. t

  3. So sorry that you seem to be in a hyper sensitive state right now T. I wonder what can bring some calm and ease in preparation for meditation.
    I can’t listen to the news here in the US unless it is filtered through other people. Just too abrasive. Powering off works for me.
    Sending metta. 🙏

    • Dear Val, a very late reply but just to say your comment hit the spot: “I can’t listen to the news here in the US is filtered through other people. Just too abrasive.” I suppose I don’t have other Westerners here to filter the abrasive news through. And suddenly there’s a little insight on my actual situation here

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