Back to the Cushion

I am slowly finding my way back to steady meditation practice. It feels like the slowest movement on the planet, but it’s movement nonetheless. I have a new meditation instructor after being without one for several years, and we had our first meeting at the meditation center on Tuesday.

I am working on the very basics again, which is always a rich experience. I am trying to find the ground in uncertainty. Life is always uncertain, but my sense of uncertainty has been heightened since I lost my job. My instructor suggested I read about the six obstacles to basic meditation practice and I have deciphered that I am struggling the most with lack of coordination and wildness. The lack of coordination has to do with not being able to bring my mind back to the breath and not being clear about which instruction to follow for which experience. The wildness has to do with emotion, mainly lust and anger in my case.

Emotions are so tied to fantasies about the past or the future, that they can be really powerful and captivating. Buddhist consider this a rich opportunity because when you get down to it, all that power is just energy. I can train in meditation and harness that energy for more fruitful purposes such as living in the present moment.

Naturally, I have also been asked to study the 8 antidotes to these obstacles. I have discovered that faith (trust and confidence in the teachings) is always a good antidote for me to use. I had forgotten about the antidote of workability, as in, everything we are experiencing is workable. We can deal with things as they come. Where there is a will there is a way. The other antidote I had forgotten about has to do with sacredness. Especially during meditation practice, we can be reminded that whatever we experience is sacred. It contains the potential for enlightenment – even our most base or horrifying or elated thoughts – therefore, we can take things as they come. This is closely related to workability.

Not too tight, not too lose. Confidence in uncertainty. Progress on the path. Slow and steady, right?

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