Sunday, January 10, 2010

Whose Meditation Is It?

It happened before, with Gil (Fronsdal), and with Ajahn Metta when she visited, and now this morning with James Baraz, during his Awakening to Joy workshop at IMC. Every time, I am 'subjected' to a guided meditation, discontent erupts inside. From being intruded upon, in the midst of very private process. All I want, is to be with breath, and feelings, and sensations, and whatever else presents itself. What I can't be with, are instructions telling me what to think of, or visualize. The irony of this morning workshop did not get lost on me. The more James tried to lead us down the path of joy, the more pissed off I got. I almost left mid course, but decided to stick it out, because of my trust in the teacher, and just as equally, my distrust in the mind's capacity to resist what could be good.

As it turns out, I did learn quite a bit about joy, from James. More importantly, I got in touch with another form of clinging, regarding MY idea of what sitting meditation is supposed to be.  Somewhere along the way, I gathered that meditation was another thing to call MINE. Thanks to James' innocent intrusion this morning, I am not so sure anymore, and I wonder, whose meditation is it anyway?


  1. Is it possible that at a visceral level, the feeling may arise that to be led through a meditation lacks authenticity ? If someone is trying to elicit a certain kind of experience, even ostensibly for benefit, isn't it still a kind of manipulation, no matter how benign and well intentioned?

    From what I have read of your blogs this last month or two, your practice focusses on whatever arises naturally to mind, yes? A led meditation is not natural; on the contrary, it's as artificial as lime Kool-Aid with Nutrasweet. (No disrespect to your teacher is intended.)

    Am glad that you recieved some benefit.

    I don't know who's meditating. If I ever get an answer, will share it.

    Thank you for your excellent blogging. It's sincerity and non-presumption keep it fresh and immediate, and I enjoy your observations frequently.


  2. Thank you! Yes, there is definitely some validity to not tampering with natural meditation process. And, as with anything else, clinging, however subtle, can get in the way of making room for reality of moment. In this case, guiding from teacher. The more I look, the more I am able to see pervasive nature of clinging as source of discontent.

  3. I'm with you. Stick with the breath. It's what got you here, and it is what will lead you out. Everything else is just entertainment.

  4. Yes, keep it simple. It never ceases to amaze me how much has been written about meditation and Buddhism, so much about just now, and the breath :) (ok, it's a bit more complicated than that, but not much!)