Thursday, August 4, 2016

McMeditation, constancy and study

Listening to Jack Kornfield's "Inner Art of Meditation", I hear him encourage meditators to be steady in their practice.  "There is no McMeditation", he says, meaning it takes time and practice to be comfortable with yourself and your body and mind.  It takes repeated experiences of sitting calmly and in stillness to know yourself.  With constancy of practice, we can develop better ability to study what comes up: to see what thoughts, worries, itches, fears, hopes and other thoughts and impulses pop into consciousness.

This set of CD's includes many minutes of complete silence as the class sits in meditation.  Since I listen in the car while driving, I don't really practice meditation while driving.  I doubt that I use the silences in the tracks to the best advantage.  I have noticed a large increase in the number of readers of this blog's web page in Russia.  For those not in the US and not aware of our current fads and language, it may help to know that Americans sometimes refer to McThis or McThat to mean something very quick and easy, after the fast food chain McDonald's.  You might find a reference to McMansions, large, expensive houses built maybe in a flimsy way that is still eye-catching and seemingly worthy of going into considerable debt for.

Whether one experiences pain or fear or a fly crawling along one's lips, there remains the possibility of paying close attention to the experience, of watching the pain, of studying the fear or closely examining the feeling of tiny feet moving along, itching and eliciting a strong desire to defly one's face.  The point is to study and experience.  Kornfield relates getting very fully present with a fly on his face.  Note that the point is not strength or self-control or the ability to withstand tickling but rather to study, feel, be awake to, be aware of the sensations and experiences that come long.

In the recording, Kornfield has the students meditate for 15 minutes.  Most sources suggest somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes.  A student asked about knowing when the time is up and he said you can set a timer or you can peek.  He stated that he is a peeker and looks at a clock.  We have meditated for 10 minutes for years but Lynn has often complained that the time is too short so we have moved to 15 minutes now.  But if you are a skeptic like me, eight minutes works just as well.  See Victor Davich's book.  Or, get hold of "The Quieting Reflex" by Charles Stroebel, MD and try 6 seconds.  Or try "Search Inside Yourself" by Google's Chade-Meng Tan.  He and his little daughter meditate together for 2 minutes "about as much as a little kid and a software engineer can manage."

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