Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Play Ball!

There is a saying in baseball that you can't hit what you can't see. Fastballs that is. Catching them is a bit easier if you're really paying attention, but ask any good catcher and they'll admit that it can be difficult...and painful.

If you imagine a monkey hurling fastballs for all he's worth, you'll have a pretty clear picture of what meditation has been like for me lately. This was the image that popped up as I sat there yesterday morning growing more and more frustrated and distracted. Obviously there were some lingering fragments from watching a playoff game on TV recently that helped fill in the blanks. At any rate, this began to come into focus and things started to shift. Other than the fact that I sometimes have a bizarre imagination, what does this mean?

Well, I know this little guy! I've willingly, even eagerly played his game for a long, long time. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I taught him the game in the first place. And he likes it! He's good at it! He's in a groove, as they say! And apparently he's not at all happy that I don't want to play anymore. So the more I tried to reject him and ignore him, the harder and faster he threw. Ouch! I turned my back and got nailed! But, when I turned around and stopped trying to deny that he was there, the barrage ended. Ok, he didn't just pack up and leave, and he's got a lot of stuff left. But he seems content, for the time being anyway, to lob one my way once in a while instead of trying to take my head off with it.


Gary said...

Hi Kris.

Good on you: you're sticking in there! When the going gets tough, that's when we need to draw on any reserves of determination that we might have to see us through the less pleasant meditations.

Ajahn Brahm, a monk in the lineage of Ajahn Chah, has said that the 'payback' for all the uncomfortable sittings is when the peace and insight do arise. Those moments are akin to reaching the peak of a mountain, I guess. But, being unenlightened so-and-sos, we need to accept that to climb that mountain, there's gonna be some hairy moments on the way!

When frustration does set in, Kris, it can be a revelation to shift attention away from the initial object to the frustration itself. Focusing on negative emotions while meditating can often be their undoing, as once seen and known, like all things they will disperse...eventually!

Be well,

puthujjana said...

Hi Gary,

Even the less pleasant times are blessings. I'm always left with just a tiny bit more understanding. As for sticking in there, it seems that I've reached a point where that is the only acceptable option. No one could be more surprised at that than me!

I took your advice and looked at the emotion itself and, yes, it was very revealing. I also took Ajahn Sucitto's advice and explored the body's reactions to the different mind states arising. Obvious now, but something that I had previously missed. Or ignored?