What is meditation? & if you’ve ever debated a Buddhist.

Posted: 03/03/2014 in Photos, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

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Another shot from the Run the Bluegrass route. On my drive around the course last Fall, somewhere between Blackstone Farm and the turn onto Redd, it started raining *HARD* and as my wipers struggled to keep up, there was this tobacco barn that caught my attention. The water sheeting over my windshield with that in the view reminded me of an impressionist painting, though I don’t think Monet spent much time painting tobacco barns.

Once again, I’m waking up to the world covered in ice – which is what brought this photo to mind – even though it is rain in the picture, the ice sheets outside look just the same over everything. They are cold and vicious, but somehow still so beautiful.

I have a white-knuckle grip on the idea that at some time today, I WILL get 6 miles done. I NEED to get 6 miles in however they happen, walking, hiking, running – however. This is my mantra. But it’s a side point –

I was in yoga teacher training over the weekend (for the 500-hour program). These weekends we spend 20+ hours in the studio from Friday-Sunday, usually with some new, some review and one specialized topic. LOTS of movement practice and LOTS of meditation. As part of our weekend, our Saturdays start at 8:00am – IN SILENCE. It’s an unspoken agreement that even if you see each other in the parking lot coming in, you don’t speak – we do 25 minutes of Yin practice which is self-guided – and then for the next 50 minutes we “sit Zazen”. The interpretation of this is that we sit as still as we can, in a seated position – facing a wall – for 50 minutes with the idea of achieving a stillness, as much mentally as physically. It’s a discipline. I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.  On Sundays, we explore different other methods of meditation & breathing, but our Saturdays are dedicated to Zazen. My yogi brain understands the discipline of Zazen and does find a benefit from it most days – but to my runner’s brain –

THIS IS INSANE.

And is as wont to happen in a weekend where you spend 20 hours with the same group of people, a lively discussion about meditation broke out between myself, my Buddhist friend & colleague (who leads the meditation) and another trainee/teacher who struggles with the meditation but is giving it her best shot (as am I, though I don’t really struggle with it beyond the discomfort in my legs that I have to ignore).

First off, I’m going to tell you – and I say this with full love in my heart for their beliefs – if you’ve ever debated a well-versed Buddhist on anything, I feel like I should just give you a hug right now and we should call this post done. Seriously –

THERE NEEDS TO BE A SUPPORT GROUP FOR THAT.

It’s very frustrating to debate with someone who ends with “all these things we do aren’t really meaningful anyway because we’re all dying and that’s okay because we never really existed anyway”. I paraphrase. But you see my point? HOW CAN YOU ARGUE WITH THAT?  So anyway –

There was this discussion which left me with two big ponderances which I’d like to pose to you. I’m posting them on FB & Twitter also in the spirit of gathering a variety of thoughts on the topic –

First – WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MEDITATION? One of the things that has become apparent to me is that there is a gap in understanding about what practitioners of meditation experience or expect to experience from their discipline (a function of expectation) and what others perceive as the purpose of meditation (a function of perception).

Second – DO YOU HAVE TO SIT STILL TO MEDITATE? I’m sure you can guess that this is the bigger hotbed topic.

So, I’m interested in your thoughts. There is no right or wrong answer since meditation is unique to the individual. And I’m still interested in your thoughts even if you don’t meditate – what do you think it’s about? what do you think people who meditate are trying to achieve? I’d love to hear you comments.

Comments
  1. CultFit says:

    I’m meditating right now writing this pithy comment. Am I conscious of my actions, am I aware of what I am doing … Stillness, awareness and comfort- Comment Mediation. 🙂

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thoughts?

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