Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


command line metta

The impending rain was the last straw in my deciding not to bicycle to the office today. I'd woken up sometime before 4AM with a start (AM had crashed into the nightstand), then needed to go to the bathroom, then Phoebe waking me up to pet her. I dozed fitfully after that until the alarm sounded at 6:30. The thing that needed to give was my desire to bicycle in today.

I phoned CK to let her know, feeling a bit bad for doing so. The route to use had seemed a contentious topic, so calling to say I wasn't up for it regardless felt a bit silly. She was understanding, of course, agreeing that I am not equipped at all to deal with rain (either on my person or my stuff).

Work was filled with the usual work stuff, including an inability to access the documents I keep on Google. Some new measurements of the corporate IT and/or security folks. One more reason to give thought to looking to be somewhere smaller. Made some progress on some things, little on others. My head ached by the end of the day.

Quick snack at home, AM had made samosas and I had one with a little sambar. Then off to teach yoga. Tonight I rushed off to the dharma center afterward because they needed someone to chant and do bells. I volunteered because no one else had and somehow my mind things this is somehow a "make up" for bailing out on them last Thursday.

Tuesdays are seated meditation (zazen) followed by walking meditation (kinhin) then discussion, a bit more zazen, and ending with chanting service. I like the idea of this a lot, but since I finish teaching a little past 7PM each Tuesday it means to go I must wolf something down in the car on the way over to sitting at 7:30PM. Now having done it I can confirm that it really makes for a long day, even if I hadn't started out short on sleep.

We discussed the wrap up, well for me first discussion about the Bhramaviharas ("Divine Abodes") and I mentioned how difficult it is for me to apply these to myself. That I find it far easier to cultivate these things when I deal with others. Yes, things are still challenging when I interact with people closely, but it is far less effort to practice these states of being with others.

I especially mentioned how doing metta practice for myself is such a challenge, that is the time when I am most distracted. So distracted I don't even notice I'm no longer attending my meditation; I don't consciously distract myself so much as mentally shift to other activities. HB has suggested practicing in a mirror, but that really is difficult and even upsetting at times. GR offered the idea of doing it a different way, perhaps writing it out.

When we had our second sitting period I tried this. Not literally, no pen and paper. I envisioned the feel of my fingers on a keyboard, typing out the words. My mind saw the letters appearing on my monitor, in a terminal window. This variation helped, my mind stayed more focused on the metta practice and aware of the potential to wander off. After chanting service I made sure to share that the "writing" suggestion was very helpful.

And I'm finally in bed again. My right side especially hurts. From the side of the tail bone down the entire leg, lighting up the hip and knee particularly. I felt so drained from work today, not energized by it at all. I am trying to not lose track of how tired I am and how the down shift in the weather to mist, drizzle and rain leaves me feeling chilled and slow. These things and the rush of anxiety last week have left me feeling thin again. Some of the irritation at work is truly magnified by these things and not just work itself.

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