Interconnected

Two wonderful posts on meditation: frizzylogic [also, her links] passed me links to a couple of posts written by a friend of hers who practices Vajrayana Buddhism. Thanks both!

How to be uncomfortable. There are thoroughly practical tips here, and this stood out for me: The back of your hand will itch. A lifetime (at least) of habit will urge you to scratch your hand. Don't do it. Let the itch be there. Experience it as vividly as you can. If your attention has left the object of your meditation, put it back, without trying to block out the itch, or make it go away. If you refrain from scratching once, and just notice the itch, without trying to make it go away, you have just done something with your experience that is profoundly different.

Actually, this is the line that most resonated. On fidgeting and feeling pain: The other thing in play is that your mind is afraid of holding still. Oh yes. Yes, completely. I get that with the time.

Confessions. A brilliantly insightful post from beginning to end, on what you expect when you start meditating, and what happens: What they say is that they sit down, and their minds go crazy; thought piles on thought; their anxiety increases, if anything; and if their minds settle at all, it's only for a moment. Most experienced meditators will look a little perplexed at this description of meditative failure. "Yes," they'll say, "that's what happens to me, too."

And the post continues from there. It's spot-on, all the way. Yes, I've come nearer to the state I'm after before, but: Unfortunately you only get that state for free once. And yes, I don't do this already because sitting down quietly is almost unbearable, it's true: That's precisely why you hadn't been sitting quietly in a spot where nothing happens, hitherto -- because you knew that being alone with your mind would make you nuts. The thing to bear in mind is that it isn't sitting down and being quiet that has made you nuts. You were already nuts.

My mind isn't under my control. What else? The second thing meditation has to teach you, is that the mind can be still. "You" can't make it hold still, because "you" are the problem. But it can be still. Put the conditions in place, and eventually -- eventually -- it will become still.

Go read.