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28 Day Meditation Challenge, Day 2: On My Back
Submitted by KateJ on Fri, 2/3/2012, 1:55am
I am a morning meditator. It is not because I am good, it is not because I am disciplined.
It is because I am afraid. My morning mind is a slow waking lunatic.
When I wake up, I generally have about four seconds of blank mind. It is foggy, calm and lukewarm. Mind like oatmeal with milk and maple syrup. For about four seconds -- until my planning mind comes screaming in, like air rushing a wound once the bandage is torn off. The thoughts sting me, I tighten against them, and then on a good day, I put my butt on the meditation cushion anyway. Because I know if I don't, my anxiety alarm clock will ring me right into emailing and bag lunch packing and eyebrow plucking and lesson planning and before I know it -- I'm launched into my day. (Up shit creek without a paddle, Mom would say.)
And because if I do sit, there's half a chance I'll recognize my thoughts as only thoughts. My sitting bones might drop down into the earth and grow roots in all directions, my spine might rise tall and resilient like the trunk of a young tree, I might feel branches sprouting from my head toward the sky. My mind might follow my breath as it paces back and forth in a room with two walls, one called rising, one called falling. And when I get up from said cushion, I might just find myself cloaked in a film of grace, spun from my own basic goodness, that will whisper sweet things to me all day, like "Be still, my child."
Today, however, Day 2 of the 28 day meditation challenge inspired by Sharon Salzberg's book Real Happiness, I sat halfway up upon waking, hit a low ceiling of pain and laid right back down. My back. I rolled to one side and pressed my hands into mattress, walking them close to my hip to ease up to sitting. No freakin way. Not today. NOT TODAY. No, no no no no.
But because no one died last night and made me Queen of the Universe, the back spasm that comes calling every few months really did not care that I was not interested in entertaining it this morning. Sitting on the cushion, a silver bullet shot from my tailbone to my right shoulder blade. Fine. I backed off.
The Buddha was said to have taught meditation in four postures: standing, sitting, walking, and lying down. While most days I pride myself on my neat half lotus, my knees resting firmly on the floor, it was clear which posture I'd be doing today.
I pulled my comforter onto the floor, placed pillows under my knees, and eased myself onto my back, fingers spread out over my belly, elbows resting at my sides. I am not a tree, I have neither branches nor roots. I am the earth those roots would like to carve into. Gravity presses down on me like a heavy wool blanket. I do not struggle, I do not cry out. This body will be a corpse. But for now, I am on my back, my attention gently resting on my breath.
I am meditating.
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