For many years I was reflexively turned off by the notion of sitting silently for more than a minute or two, at most. I told myself--persuasively, it seems--that I was incapable of meditation. My mind, I was convinced, was too busy, and my patience too thin. Meditation might be good for others, I magnanimously conceded. But for me it was too, well... passive.It's really amazing that the writer was able to develop a practice during a crisis. That's really not the best time to learn. Better to develop a practice when things are more or less normal and then meditation is there for you when your life becomes really difficult.
Then, a dozen years or so ago, I found myself in one of those deep and painful situations with which life has a way of confronting us at precisely the wrong (right!) time and, with the help of a couple of good friends and advisers, I decided to give meditation a try. The instructions were simple: just breathe, I was told, and keep bringing the attention gently back to the breath, no matter what thoughts and feelings may come up.
Miraculously, it worked. In the course of time, I found not only immense solace in the great silences of mediation, but also a fine way to train the mind. It became my practice, every day, to sit--at first for ten or fifteen minutes, then fifteen or twenty, then thirty or forty-five. And breathe. No more, no less. And watch the breath as it enters and leaves the body. That simple--and that hard!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Take a look at this excerpt from an article called "Practice, Practice, Practice":