Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Meditation

There’s nothing like when a day ends.

When the sun sets and the night rolls in, when the dinner dishes have long been washed and put away, when the house finally comes to rest from the daily activities, there’s really nothing like the feeling of calm that settles over everything at day’s end.

And this is when I meditate. 

I have read about group meditations, and occasionally Zen Master and I do group meditations.

However, ultimately, meditation is a solo act.

It’s in this one act where the world around me fades away when I close my eyes. 

It’s when I’m acutely aware of my breathing, focusing on the deep pull of air that enters my nose, filling my body to capacity before slowly exiting my mouth.  My Tai Chi instructor labels the inhale as “breathing in the flowers” and exhale as “blowing out the candles.”

This is when I focus on calming the constant stream of random thoughts in my mind, lulling them to rest.

And this is the only act that gives me the strength to shelf all the troubles that may ache my heart, at least for awhile.

Sometimes I still struggle with calming my thoughts, especially when it was a doosie of a day. 

Meditation is a living, breathing personal work in progress.

Let’s put it in another way. 

You know how you can appear calm on the outside but in the inside, your heart is torn up, in turmoil?  Meditating is about getting the mind and heart in sync with each other so that you actually are calm.  You don’t need to project an image of calm.  You are calm. 

Hence, that’s why I say meditation is a work in progress.  It’s easy to say but extremely hard to do.  But given time and practice, it becomes natural. 

Zen Master tells of a Chinese legend of an evil Zen Master, who when he sits down to meditate, when he’s truly in the zone, nothing could break his concentration.  Even when he was surrounded and was physically being attacked by others armed with swords and weapons, he was untouchable.  It took the combined efforts of three good Zen Masters to take him down.

Now that’s something to strive for.  Except the evil part, of course.

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