First day of the second week – but every day is a first day, every sitting, every practice seems like a new one, is a new one. Longing to find the same experiences I found yesterday, realizing the holding on, the craving, trying to let it be, and then let it go. It isn’t always easy – actually at times it appears so difficult!
I practiced the body scan before going to sleep, which something I often do, but today my intention was somewhat clearer, I was going to do all of it… I drifted off a couple of times, and started again from where I thought I left. I think I fell asleep.
It is a pattern, I have never, in about 4 years of body scan, managed to do a whole one without falling asleep, unless I talk myself thru it – and I mean talking aloud…
So maybe this is the way it is for me, even with the best of intentions, I do end up falling asleep. To be honest it is very rare for me to have problems falling asleep, so probably the lying position is just a prompt for my body to just do so.
I remember once Banthe saying that if we really felt very sleepy – and it is quite easy on the first days of retreat – that one could do Vipassana standing up – should I try a standing body scan?
I slept like a baby, woke up completely energized and quite early.
It was still dark, stayed in the warmth of the bed for a few minutes and – knowing that I had a day workshop ahead of me, decided to get up and practice some walking meditation while taking the dog out.
I walked “normally” down the hill, my mind carried away in daydreams. When I arrived at the Lough I slowed down, listening to nature waking up – all my senses were completely open, and I had a brief glimpse of oneness.
I stopped, had a look around, I was the only human being, surrounded by birds, swans, gulls, and a seal in the distance.
I stood still and sensed my body. I looked and found a small heap of seaweed maybe twenty meters away, and decided that that was my walking meditation turning point.
I lifted one foot, moved it forward, placed it on the ground. Then the other… It took me about ten minutes to get to the seaweed, ten minutes during which the mind was doing its best to think and plan and fantasize, ten minutes of trying to be with every step. One, two… ten steps and then Mind wanders off… another step.
Pause, sense the whole body, balanced, grounded.
I did not practice at all today, just a few moments of noticing the breath. But I noticed how much more present I was with the friends I spent the day with, and how much more forgiving towards myself for not having sat (although not totally forgiving!)
It’s Monday, and today my practice was with the group. Insight and Metta, and I don’t know how this works, but it does: every new day I can feel a greater sense of happiness, contentment, and I realize that while I guide the sitting I just can’t stop smiling.