Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I wake up early

I like the morning. It's quiet, I can drink my coffee (George Howell--my favorite but a splurge at $16 a bag), and stare at the fresh flowers on the kitchen table. This is my form of meditation, what gets me ready for the day ahead. The world outside is complex, but at my kitchen table it's just me and the warm coffee and the flowers.

I've tried the proper sitting meditation, and I will try it again. My Buddhist friend JM who married MC and I, sat with me. He wrote out a chant for me to recite as I sat. It was something long like "hohumismellthebloodofanenglishmanom" and I kept having to look down at the paper to remember it, and sometimes I said it wrong, and would chastise myself for not being able to say one phrase correctly. I was making a mockery of meditation and the last thing I felt was relaxed. Actually, I felt nauseous. Physically sick. JM said that was normal for first time meditators to feel uncomfortable--later I would listen to my new idol, Pema Chodron say that even long-time meditation students sometimes struggle with the practice. I find it hard to silence the racing thoughts, including What am I doing? This isn't working? I wonder if there are any cookies left. My back hurts, am I developing back problems already? With this bad back I'll be bedridden by 50. What am I supposed to be thinking? How do you think nothing? It's like trying to imagine where the universe ends; what's on the other side? This not thinking is making me sick.

But sitting at my kitchen table, letting the thoughts flow, I return my attention to the flowers, the table, the warm cup, and without really knowing it, I'm giving my attention to now.

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