Monday, March 9, 2020

A new niche

Traditionally, there are at least two formal ways to meditate. One is to work at staying focused on a single anchor.  I started using an image of the bubble rising in beer or ginger ale, just arising from a point without apparent cause or reason.  Since I often am ready to meditate without being near either drink, I changed to a point in my visual field, something I could see.  I took a corner of any rectangle I could see that opened to the right and up, the lower left corner.

The other traditional way is to observe the mind, to sit back and watch the themes, subjects and locales that the ever-active mind suggests.  This method can be interesting and fun but it is less certain. When I am trying to focus on a single point, I am likely to notice when I switched to the leaves outside or our goldfish.  When I try to observe my mind's offerings, there is a greater chance that the thought of my bills or climate change or something else will hijack my attention and get me thinking about fears or solutions.  This observing approach to an open, free mind, often called vipassana (trans. "special seeing") or insight meditation can be fun and quite interesting, if you don't get pulled into a personal story or issue.

Lately, my meditation has gotten more interesting, less formal and more fun.  When I meditate, it feels like sitting down in a fine room with several close friends who know me well.  It is fun and I look forward to it. There is no book or tv show that can match it.

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