I started meditation in a “kind” environment. That was 2020. The Great Pause. I didn’t have much to do other than working, cooking, eating, and sleeping. I felt like I was in a mediation retreat.
As I venture into the bigger world, keeping a calm state of mind has been challenging. I found myself doing things I did not intend to do – mindlessly scrolling for updates, feeling upset by others, carried away by worries.
Maybe a mind that is always clear is not the goal of meditation. What I can hope for is awareness.
My awareness did improve. I become aware of my emotions much faster, sometimes as they arise. But I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t change how I react.
I think there is more to awareness besides being able to detect when negative emotions arise.
There is the awareness of deeper truths: “the truths of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness of phenomena.”
Why didn’t I experience those?
Maybe because my approach is too passive.
I like to remind myself that I’m just sitting on the side of a busy road watching thoughts and emotions come and go.
Have I seen them? Could I tell the color and shape? Or I think I’ve seen them?
Bhante Gunaratana says Vipassana meditation is an active function. Concentration and awareness should work together as a team.
Maybe because I’m too concentrated.
The emotion is all I see.
I’m not aware when my focus shifts.
Maybe I need to be more patient.
Change can’t be forced.
In the words of Andy Puddicombe, “All we can do is set the stage and wait.”
Maybe I need more acceptance.
I should accept my negative emotions, not just positive ones.
Accept that I’m a human being. That I was born with greed, jealousy and pride. That I seek pleasure and avoid pain by default.
Maybe I should forget what I know about meditation.
“Subject all statements to the actual test of your own experience, and let the results be your guide to truth,” Gunaratana writes.
“Don’t think. See.”