I’m sitting cross-legged on the splintered redwood deck at my friend’s house out here in Yosemite. It is noon yet the sun is not overhead but off to the right —plenty warm but making its way across the sky in a shorter circuit. I’m sure this has something to do with the winter season and could ask someone. But, I am content to observe it.
So Meditate now. Usually I wait till the end of the day. But, why wait? Maybe meditating now, will give me a focus the rest of the day. And, may as well get this thing over with.
I begin by trying to sit up straight, to sit on my sitz bones. But, I don’t have a cushion and find myself straining forward to prevent my short back muscles? Hamstrings? From pulling me backwards. SIT UP STRAIGHT! Hmm, not very compassionate. Please, sit up and DO NOT STRAIN… Okay, up straight and yet, I know that my lower back does not have its nice S-curve. I worry that I will get sore of sitting. Also, my waistband is eating into my belly. .Oooh, I am not very nice to myself. Something to notice, let go and move on.
I want to chant OM. I love the sound, Iove the vibration and the way that the slightest change in my mouth changes the sound. I am into the third or fourth OM. Begin by breathing in belly filling and pause then that extra long OM on the out breath. Nice.
Then, I recall reading somewhere that “expert” meditators can prolong each breath so as to only have three per minute. This is supposed to relax one. Also, my son says that we only have so many breaths in our lives, so it’s best to breathe long and slowly.
I sneak a glance at my watch. Time the breaths and the OMS. UHH! What do you know? I am a SUPER STAR SLOW BREATHER! I only take TWO breaths each minute. Oh, I am giddy with excitement and pride! To think—maybe in this one way, I have mastered meditation.
Oh, Pam, this excitement is all about pride. It’s all about being noticed, thinking that I am special. It’s an old and familiar feeling. I often find myself challenging myself to go harder, try more, and am very competitive even though I HATE to admit it.
Okay….notice this. Do these feelings of pride and excitement make me feel good? No, not really. They do stir me up. Stir me up and start a chain reaction—the giddiness, is familiar, “See? See what I CAN DO?” A very old behavior left over from when I was a little girl. Also, the giddiness is akin to anticipation. The excitement of SOMETHING coming. The next thing, the next activity the next challenge the NEXT! Wow. I really have a hard time sticking with THIS MOMENT.
Start again, forgive myself and NOTICE this giddiness. The anticipation (which is not actually pleasant at all. It translates as an urge to get up and pee—racehorse syndrome, which has plagued my adult life.) No, not pleasant.
Breathe. Om. Breathe, OM Better.
I quit early. I’d planned on twenty minutes and know it is not close. Too much giddiness. Too much thrusting myself into the NEXT moment. I quit because I feel I just have to get up. Go pee. Hmmm…
When I do quit, I take the time to scribble some of these thoughts and lo and behold! What do you know? All urgency and anticipation EVAPORATES because I am so absorbed by the activity of writing, of capturing this experience. THIS is what I want more of—this feeling of being in the moment without self-consciousness.
There is SO MUCH to learn here.
Thanks for giving me this opportunity.