22.42, Sunday 27 Nov 2005

Day 3. Given how unquiet my mind was, I think I have to reduce my description even further: I spent 10 minutes just sitting this morning. It was the worst so far. The feeling of trappedness came on almost immediately, and I was able to dismiss it quickly. But for the rest of the time, I wasn't even able to concentrate on my breathing as I could yesterday. I couldn't stop thoughts popping into my head. Not in a busy-busy think-about-the-groceries sort of way, but my general internal monologue of noticing things, realising things, and wondering things--it just wouldn't stop. I may-as-well have been waiting for a bus. The time was up relatively quickly (though still something to be endured), and I didn't spend much longer contemplating the experience afterwards as I have before.

My situation this morning: I was in a different place (upstairs facing the radiator instead of downstairs facing the laundry), and I'd had a short lie-in and cereal too before sitting.

It feels, again, that writing about my sitting really doesn't help. But I regard these notes not as telling you but as me mulling. I'd be thinking about what happened anyway, so why not write it down? Besides, the impression of meditation I have is that it must contemplate itself, otherwise it's no different to other times of flow such as dancing.

What's more counterproductive is that I'm doing this without a teacher. To be honest, I think I prefer it this way--but I don't think I'm going to get very far, or even follow the correct path. Whatever. It's still interesting, so I'll keep it up so long as it continues to unfold.

An aside. I'm not sure I've ever talked about my train ride in February 2004, only mentioned it briefly. I took Amtrak from New York City to San Diego, via Chicago (3 hour stopover) and Los Angeles (an hour). It took almost 4 days, and I slept in a chair for 3 nights. I didn't take any cash on the train, and only ate a nasty burger after I left Chicago (at lunchtime of day 2). I ran out of books late day 2, and music (and laptop) around the same time, despite rationing myself pretty severely. I went to sleep when it got dark, and woke when the freight was moved all through the night, and at sun-up.

I looked at the land (the snow then the desert), and sat, and waited, and waited. There's no thinking that can be done. Halfway between point A and point B, there's a time when you can't move. You can't go back, you can't go forward, you just have to be. You just are, you just sit. It's beautiful. There are no ways to describe it, and no ways to reach it. You have to take the journey, and be inside it. I couldn't really speak when I arrived, and I couldn't describe the train ride. I still can't, really, I can just affirm it. "Yes. It is," is all I can say, "Yes, I was on a train." That's all I can say, and that's all that needs saying.

With my sitting, I think I have an idea what I'm looking for, only it won't be the same because this time I have to be able to take myself on the journey, without the tracks.

I think tomorrow I'll try 20 minutes, if I'm able, because something feels like it's happening just before I stop at 10 minutes, and I want to know whether that's an illusion (and I'm filling in the sensation, backwards in time once I finish) or whether it's really there. I also wonder whether everyone has this same scared feeling of the duration that I do.