"Don't just do something, sit there."   (view our quote database)


All public journal entries by davidbhayes

Patience and Restlessness

Restlessness has been the dominant hinderance in my practice lately. Restlessness, for me, is the broad sense that "this should be like that" and that that change should happen soon. This can mean anything from "my hands should be shifted three inches outward", to "I should really be living the life of a handsomely-compensated consultant".

Mostly I've just been trying to meet and see this restlessness as an empty impotent thought, and that's been reasonably effective for me. I'm able to continue meditating. 

But today, the thought of patience came into my head as I had the thought "this is restlessness." And the mere thought of patience sitting in my head, bouncing around slowly, made it feel easier for me to deal with restless thoughts that arose. The explicit thought of the opposite or antidote to restlessness seemed useful to keep around. Like have a secret storeroom of ice you can unleash whenever the room starts to feel stiflingly hot.


Posted: 5 years ago

Tagged: patience, restlessness, meditation, desire, hinderance

Comment on this entry


Meditation as Magnifier

Monday was a kind of stressful day in my life. I was starting a new job, so I spent most of the day lost. And what was worse: I felt lost, and I felt bad about feeling lost. And that built into a sense of stress, and a general feeling of dis-ease. 

And my sits around that time: they reflect that. Almost every sit I recorded around that time notes a sense of eagerness to move on (from meditation), an eager mind thinking and planning (constructive worrying I sometimes think of those as), etc.

Today after work, I felt like it had gone well, that I'd done what I could and should have done. And so the sit I did right after work felt easy, remarkably so. Abnormally, abrubtly, crazy easy. I just felt the change so clearly that I couldn't let it go by without noting.


Posted: 5 years ago

Tagged: stress, meditation, life, work, lost

Comment on this entry


Reconsidering "Being With"

It's been about a weeks since I had the "insight" that I could "be with" what obstacles came up while I sat, rather than get worked up, frustrated, and angry about them. And at that level, I still think "being with" is a useful idea.

But coupled with a few other things, the loosening up that has come along with the "being with" idea has gone so far in the other direction that I feel like sitting isn't something I'm doing but rather a position I'm being in. 

I feel like there's a tough balance between bearing down too hard in your practice and being so permissive that "meditation" becomes indistinct from the rest of your activities. I know there's a sweet-spot, but I know that "being with" hasn't been a powerful enough concept to get me there. (Which is to ignore the whole argument about the value of an concept in getting you anywhere.)


Posted: 5 years ago

Tagged: being with, bearing down, permissiveness

Comment on this entry


Meditating by "Being With"

For almost as long as I've been meditating, I've thought of meditation as something you do. You go "meditate" and I defined the act of "meditating" as a set of behavior that, for whatever constellation of reasons, always contained the need to supress thoughts and the need to "focus" on the breath.

Then a few days ago, as I was sitting down, the thought that my goal was to just be with whatever was occuring at the time came up. This idea, which I'm sure I'd heard many times in the past, really stuck this time, and completely changed the character of my practice.

For days (if not months) I'd been riding a wave of thought and supression, thought and supression. As my time increased, that tumult would sometimes be followed by a "dead" period where in the absense of thoughts arising I would just be sitting there wishing that time would move faster.

When I thought of the pracitce as being with, I instead got the very real sense of it being fine that thoughts were arising. Of it being fine that nothing was arising. Of it being OK to feel and think whatever I was thinking and feeling. My only duty was to be there with those things coming and stay aware of them, and it made a huge difference.


Posted: 5 years ago

Tagged: mindfulness, presence, technique, meditation technique

Comment on this entry