Saturday, January 16, 2010

Meditation


The fifth paramita is meditation. One way to think of meditation is that it is a sometimes slow but always sure way to befriend oneself. To sit quietly with our thoughts arising and our discipline bringing us back gently again and again to our breath is to start to realize that our notions of self are fairly insubstantial - that we are insubstantial - and that after we ride the fear of that we get the liberation of it. The gift of meditation for me is the ordinary magic of being all right with what is. If I can carry that into my writing I can be fearless. I can let go of the sometimes constant feelings of not doing enough, or not doing the right thing, or not being worthy of even trying anything. I can breathe and rest in what is and then my writing can reflect that basic sanity. This, for me, is the most difficult of paramitas to explain - it is beyond explanation. It has to be experienced. Giving you a recipe for bread does not nurture you - you must make the bread yourself. So if you have a meditation practice or any time that is a quiet self-reflective time - you will nourish your writing.

7 comments:

Helen Ginger said...

What interesting advice. I don't meditate, but this gives me pause.

Love the picture. It's so serene.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

Resting like a boat on still water, awaiting the arrival of 'beings'?
heckyl

Jan Morrison said...

Helen - I know it seems counter-intuitive which is why it is difficult to conceptualize. I'm glad you like the picture - it was early morning, in the back harbour of Chester. It is one of the settings for the novel I finished in the fall so...in synch with your topic today.
Heck! Sure, or not caring if beings come at all, just being a tender, floating at anchor.xxJeckyl

Watery Tart said...

The idea of meditation is such a conundrum for me. I love the idea of it, but have a hard time even imagining myself doing it. I think I've always journaled for reflection... to let the freeflow overtake me so I know where I should go... but now I don't do much of that either because I write other stuff in that time...

It is something I like the IDEA of, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Your Paramitas series are exceeding interesting.. I am finding pleasure and inspiration in them...

This Photograph is utterly calming...

Stacy Post said...

I love the photo, Jan! Meditation is peace of mind. It's sanctuary from the noise of busy living. I loved the analogy of making bread...because it is something you have to do to understand. Thanks for sharing!

Jan Morrison said...

I cannot adequately express my joy in the way this series is being received! Thank you so much for your comments. Today I will do the last paramita. I will do another series in a little while on writing and the dharma so stay tuned.
Tartlett - believe me when I tell you that our ego (not our confidence but our ego) is threatened by meditation and invents all sorts of seemingly reasonable obstacles to the practice! It is very much like when I counsel clients to go to AA meetings - the more solid the reasons for not going, the more I believe the need to go is there! Journalling can be a valid form of meditation as it will clear the mind of all the circuitous thought patterns - there is something in our left brain that believes we have taken care of a worry by writing about it which is most helpful. The best thing I think I could tell you about the practice of meditating is to be kind and firm with yourself. Just like training a dog - kind and firm. Firm without kind doesn't work - we will resist and agitate, kind without firm doesn't work - we will fall back asleep.
Gwen - thank you for dropping by and commenting! I really appreciate your kindness.
Stacy - thank you! my bread making analogy is an old Buddhist one that I cannot claim as my own! It has always helped me understand some key issues with Buddhism and so I wished to share it.