Thursday, November 26, 2009

3 weeks away

I just came back from a 3 week trip of amazing intensity; the first leg was going up to Massachusetts to sit my 5th 10 day meditation course.

my teacher
I went in with a strong intention to WORK, hard, and focus. It helped to have my own room, and my own meditation cell. other than hours and hours of meditation, a few things stood out. One was the moment when i caught my mind in the act of grasping for something, ANYTHING, to react to. I witnessed it scrambling madly for some thought or memory, positive or negative, to latch onto and then freak out about. fascinating to see that my mind's ceaseless exertion is not necessarily about feeling good or bad, only that my brain is constanly in the act of grasping for something to react to.

There was also a fascinating moment when i got to witness myself generating negativity, anger in this case. The whole course functions by bell--bells are rung to signify the end of each sit, the start of each meal, when to wake up, etc. towards the middle they started to get spotty; one tea time bell was a half hour late and they stopped ringing altogether in the pagoda. a bit unsettling, naturally, but not a huge deal. one day, i was sitting in the hall during the last pre-tea time stretch. my mind started to wander, contemplating whether or not the teatime bell would be rung. my body intuitively felt that the end of this session was approaching, and some part of my mind queried, "what if thye don't ring the bell?" and in response, in a moment of stark mental/emotional clarity, i watched the thought/emotion rise up from deep within myself, clearly illuminated by the nothingness that surrounded it..."i'm gonna be pissed!" what!?!? i'm making the conscious decision to generate this negativity, creating suffering for myself? WTF? crazy to see this, and a deep learning moment.

Another highlight was at the end, the metta session where we learn the loving kindness meditation. i've already internalized to some degree the concept that all suffering truly comes from within, not from outside circumstances. yes, hard to actually put into practice in one's life. in a way though, its easy; no ones wants to suffer, and if i'm truly the source of it, it provides a clear path out of suffering. but somehow i'd never quite heard the flip side, which is of course equally important. the source of happiness is only inside me, not outside. whoa! huge! that radically transforms my orientation to everything, illucidating how much i depend on outside sources for my happiness.

more soon on the other amazing and inspiring legs of my journey.......