Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

A Pool for Compassion and Wonder

My meditation practice now includes periods of time when I make no attempt to still the bubbling of that pool which is my mind.

For the first three years of practice I presided over these times of quiet with a relentless shield of silencing. If a thought arose in my mind I would note, "Talk". If a picture of some sort arose I would note, "Image". These parries were not in judgment, but rather in the spirit of giving my mind free space (and permission) to not do anything at all. This strategy, which began at the urging of my therapist, was mostly successful. My impossibly noisy mind enjoyed daily periods of peace and quiet. 

I was clearing space for a meditation practice, a little bit at a time. Initially I could do this for three minutes, then five, ten, and, in time, twenty minutes. In the past few months I have been taking a new tack on this strategy.

I devote ten minutes of my meditation time to do this quiet "vigil", dispassionately noting thoughts and images. Then, for the next ten minutes I will remove the shield and simply observe the thoughts and images. The only constraint I put on the practice is to not run with anything that arises.

Let me say more about that.

Our thoughts tend to arise and then become a storyline which we recognize, follow and fixate on. A random image of a person or thing leads our minds to feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and emotions, which we grab hold of and run with. The sound of a school bus going down our road just now might lead to memories of riding a bus when I was a child, or projections of the particular dynamics of Grafton teenagers as they make their way to the school in Berlin (judgments on their clothing, their habits, their parents, their language, etc.). While typing away on my keyboard my mind has lost itself in random and draining loops of commentary.

We are doing this constantly, all through the day. From time to time we catch ourselves drifting away and pull our minds back to the present, over and over again.

So, for my meditation time I give my mind free rein for ten minutes. Because I am in a mode of mindfulness I am more inclined to be the one watching the tail wag rather than being the wagging tail. I watch with compassionate curiosity as thoughts and images bubble up. You can imagine my surprise when I found that the thoughts and images, if just observed, arise and pass away like gently popping bubbles. If there seems to be some attempt to attach to the bubble, I watch that as well, and the attachment similarly fades.

This is as far as I have come so far, yet it seems as if I have crossed an inner continental divide. Like Alice in Wonderland I would see my world with a "curiouser and curiouser" attitude.

Thursday Images

Thursday Images