Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just Sitting for Ten Minutes

It's Sunday morning. I'm drinking coffee, sitting by the lit fireplace, reading a book, and enjoying the quietude. I hear the steady humming of the refrigerator and my own breathing, and now, a jet plane passing over in the distance.

I woke up this morning, showered, and meditated for ten minutes. It felt good to meditate right away. A good way to start my Sunday, a good way to stop and sit and not do anything. So often I've got a mental list of things I want or need to do: eat, clean, read a book, get ready for work. I'm not a crazy busy overbooking multitasking person but I like to use my time efficiently and effectively-there are only so minutes in the day and I want to use them wisely-and so I plan what I'm going to do with the minutes.

Meditating-just sitting as I like to call it-is “doing” something, but it represents the bare necessity and the simple essential. Often for myself, and others, just sitting there and “doing nothing” is difficult. We get mentally and physically restless. We have the mental list of things we could or should or would like to do instead of just sitting. We have the mental list of things we could or should or would like to do after we are done sitting. We have the machinations of our minds: the wondering and worrying, the remembering and envisioning. If you're like me, you think a lot. If you're like me, you think you should always be doing something, whatever that is. Just sitting there seems idle and counterproductive to the creative and successful person.

But I did just sit there. I stopped. I just sat. For ten minutes. It may not seem like a long time. It's certainly not the two periods of thirty five minutes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday or the all day meditation retreat I used to sit ten years ago, but ten minutes is where I'm at right now and wherever I am is where I am.  I accept that.

Ezra Bayda states in his book Saying Yes to Life (Even the Difficult Parts) that “equanimity is being present with whatever is happening without believing our judgments about it.” What this means is that when I'm just sitting I just sit. I don't judge it. I don't say it's good or bad. I don't tell myself I'm distracted and unfocused, or the opposite, I'm concentrating and clear minded. Similarly, when I'm done just sitting, I don't judge the sitting, and I don't judge whatever I'm doing. I just do it: just drinking coffee, just sitting by the lit fire, just reading, and just enjoying the quietude.

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