The Practice

Hello to All!

I started meditation a long, long time ago even before I understood it as a “practice” and long before I knew about Zen. I’ve also recently been taking a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction meditation (MBSR) which is a secular form of meditation largely focused on reducing stress and stressors whether brought on by work, illness or any other life situations.

People coming to this practice for the first time eventually ask: “How can I get better at meditation?” Generally, the response is: “There is no better or worse; there are no goals per se; and, this is why it is called a practice.”

Here is my reflection based on my own experience sitting in meditation.

THE BELL AND MALLET IN MY WORLD
Noemi Ko-Ji Santana
November 1, 2016

I sit in meditation with my eyes downcast
waiting for the rhythm to kick in:
Breath in — Breath out — Breath in —
Breath out — Breath in — Breath out —
My heart rate kicks up as my mind realizes
I’m taking it out of service for 20 minutes.

The monkey chatter starts up in the brain
and I have to start all over again—
Breath in — Breath out — Breath in —
Breath out — Breath in — Breath out —
Breath in — Breath out — Breath in —
Breath out — Breath in —
And the stillness appears.

Cross-legged, eyes unfocused on no spot;
the bell and mallet become my world,
albeit fuzzy, sometimes seeming to float
then disappear (to where?)

I watch my breath rise and fall
with ever longer gaps in between;
becoming shallow, almost imperceptible.
(And where is mind and where is body?)

The outside seeps into the inside
in muffled traffic sounds and ambient sounds.
My ears become an inverted megaphone
funneling the cacophony of life into my awareness
even while I stay aware of the rise and fall of breath.

Unattached. Disconnected? Disappeared?
Did he really say that? I must have misunderstood.
But all and all a pleasant dinner. He should have left well enough alone but…
Shit! The chatter snuck in somehow.
Hmmm. Is there anything there? Goodbye to thoughts.
There’s enough of you all day long. That’s not why we’re here.
Breath in — Breath out — Breath in —
Breath out — Breath in –

Cross-legged, eyes unfocused on no spot;
the bell and mallet become my world
albeit fuzzy, sometimes seeming to float
then disappear (to where?)

I watch the breath rise and fall…
Wake up, you’re snoring. Who said that?
I’m mortified. There’s no one near
but I know I heard the words.
It must have been just me alerting me.
How long was I out? How long before this ends?
I sneak a peak at the clock –
Only ten minutes have passed!

Breath in — Breath out — Breath in —
Breath out — Breath in –
Cross-legged, eyes unfocused on no spot;
the bell and mallet become my world…
I watch the breath rise and fall…

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