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Breathing through my toes

Summer activities:  visiting the student garden for herbs.  They've planted less this summer, no--not many--exuberant zucchini, but a few strawberries, a few tomatoes, lots of basil and thyme, which I don't feel guilty about cutting, since really I'm keeping the plants under control.  

Meditation aka Stress Reduction.  This is something I believe I first took up in preparation for giving birth.  I might be getting better at it (meditation), though I confess that there comes a moment in the tape when I wonder if I couldn't be doing something else with my time. However, part of the purpose is to develop a different relationship with Time, so I'm hanging in there.  What do monks do when their right leg, folded over their left leg, falls asleep?  Do they really manage to "breathe into it"?  Why do I feel I'm a failure when I shift position?  (But, I know, part of the purpose is not to feel like a failure:  "nothing is good, or bad'). Afterwards, ok, I do feel swept clean of my obsessions, as if I'd had a good session with the dental hygienist.

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Monks are not failures when their leg falls asleep and they

can't "breathe into it." Some Zen masters have monks leave zazen and come back later. In some disciplines, they stay. Only they know if they can truly "breathe into it." I suppose some highly trained and focused ones can.

I took LaMaze classes to prepare for the birth of my daughter almost 35 years ago. I thought I had learned to meditate. I made it through 30 hours of labor without drugs, but not without a little yelling, and even screaming, near the end. I am not a well-disciplined monk, and I don't expect to be one. I could use "some meditation techniques" to help lower my stress levels, but I don't expect myself to achieve what a dedicated monk might be able to do.

I've known friends on mediation retreats, who have passed out. And the ones in charge have just let them lie there. I think that is going a bit too far. One friend of mine, whom I love, a real combination of seeker and "bonkers," allowed a so-called "guru" to choke her to the point of her passing out. The lesson was her learning "trust."

I am for individuals setting their own bars, and not doing something just because someone says they "should" do it in a certain way. This same friend of mine stayed in a sweat lodge until she passed out to prove . . . ? I am in no way comparing you to her in your "shifting of positions." I think you are amazing to be doing anything to make your life work better for you. So many people I know are blatant zombies. Their entire bodies, minds, and souls have fallen asleep, and they don't care if they "breathe into it" or not. I'm not even sure they KNOW they are breathing! :)

You remind me of me with this talk of "failure," and also how you "should" be using your time. Just my opinion, Beverley, but how you use your time is how you use your time. Profound, I know. Anything that you love, enjoy, like, or helps you or someone else in a healthy way in this world is good by me. Sometimes, I think floating on a sea somewhere beneath a straw hat is much more important than "achieving" things in this world.

You have inspired me with your blog to write something brief. If I "fail" at it, okay. The world will keep turning as I blab and blab on. :) (Though some may want to jump off because of my blabbing!)

Thank you for the inspiration--and how I envy you for the time you are in Paris!

Bonnie

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Monks et al

Hi, Bonnie, it's good to hear from you, and thanks for your comments, which sent me off to your own blog. Me too, the habit of waking up at 3 am. Hate to get out of my warm bed in the dark. I read enough during the day that I don't want to get up and read some more at 3 am! Once, visiting my parents, I got up and wandered around their house, looking for an extra blanket, and discovered my dad in the kitchen, sipping a hot drink and reading. He wasn't very forthcoming--at the best of times--but over the years I have gradually realized that I had at least one anxious parent. I think he called it EMWS: Early Morning Waking Syndrome.

Not sure I'd make a good monk.