Monday, May 23, 2016

America's Next Top Meditator

Real Tales From Buddha's Boot Camp - A Seven Day Meditation at CSOY

It sounds terribly cliche, but meditation really is about the journey. I mean, you wouldn’t give up on running after your first attempt to run because your calves hurt, would you?” -Gina Caputo

An Honest Look Inside My Head

By Riley Bright

"Focus on the breath, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, what was that noise? My knee itches - don't itch it! Relax, breathe. Damnit I'm hot again, I should have taken off my sweater. It's just a physical sensation - breathe. You're on a mountaintop. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. It's like a million degrees in here! Everyone's eyes are closed, if I rip off my clothes and lay down, no one will notice until meditation is over...oh stop, you drama queen. Breathe - inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Why is there so much spit in my mouth? Okay, I'm going to swallow, but let's see if I can do it quietly. Shit, that was loud. Breathe - inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. I bet we've been sitting for about 13 long do we normally sit? Breathe, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, _________QUIET________. OMG I THINK I JUST MEDITATED!!!! Whoa, relax, lucky am I to finally be sitting still after a week of insanity. Enjoy this. Breathe - inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale (sigh), oh shit I just sighed, that was loud. I think my leg is going numb. Yep it's definitely going to suck to stand up. Breathe, inhale, exhale. How could I position my legs next time so they don't go numb - stop! Breathe inhale, ex-”
Ding…“What? It's over? Hmmm, I feel good...Thank god for teacher training and forced sitting....Namaste."

"No effort is too small, or ever wasted..."

By Karla Hedren

Yesterday, I had a wonderful experience during a sit. I had a feeling that my body and torso were growing and getting taller as I was sitting, however, my shoulders were weighted down and holding me back from growing and reaching the sky. This visual reflected what is currently happening in my life and I welcomed the information as a sign that it is time to release some of the weight on my shoulders -- burdens I have been baring for some time now. This epiphany was much needed and I felt wonderful all day.

Today, I was on the struggle bus during my sit. The thinking just kept coming at me and I was so uncomfortable. Towards the end of the sit, I mentally gave-up and started thinking about how my sit would be judged, not only by myself but those who would ask after how my sit was. I didn't want today's sit to be judged negatively or compared to yesterday’s. I didn't want yesterday’s remembered as one good and today’s as one bad because I would feel as though I didn't accomplish anything today.

Both of my sits have merit and purpose because I was connecting and contributing to the universe both days. We absolutely need to remember that; even what we judge as our worst attempt at mediation is still an important contribution to collective consciousness. This should be our focus and feed our momentum to keep at it.

Experiencing the Shadow and Light Within

By Ashley Frank

This morning I was pretty stirred by a blog I read before coming into meditation (I know - bad idea in the first place). Then I had a pretty jarring revelation during the sit around the soul concept of agreeing to be here - in this body, on this planet, in this life. This is a concept I'm exploring in a course I am taking and it is dragging all kinds of interesting, and often daunting things, to the surface... I realized that I have not fully agreed to be here.

This point was driven home when one of my teachers said something to the effect of, "Take a breath as if it was your first and feel your vitality and gratitude for being here." At this moment, I realized that I'm not particularly glad to be here. That what I'm experiencing lately, more often than not, is apathy towards life at best and sometimes even leaning towards a general malaise... I've been thinking a lot about the point of it all. If everything is transitory and impermanent and we just move onto another incarnation to learn another lesson, what is the  f*****g point? Is it an insurance policy against not coming back as a bug next time around? These are the things I was thinking in my sit.

So, I went home and walked my dog for an hour, crying the whole time, and then I went to yoga. The heaviness began to lift. As I moved through my day, the panic of being in the midst of an existential crises began to subside. And then I got an email from my dad responding to one of my "What is it all for? The more I learn, the farther I am away," rants.

He said, “Stop being so serious all the time and stop trying to be perfect."

I told him he was wise.

He responded, "It's my transindental meditation."

Spelled just like that. And I busted out laughing.

I jokingly responded saying, "I wonder if you meant 'transcendental meditation? Oy vey!"

To which he responded, "So you know Yiddish."

Sometimes it's the little things that remind us that we are all on an absurd journey, and most of the time, that shit needs to be taken more lightly...