I’ll be out of town for the rest of the summer, so these posts may not be weekly. I’ll try to get something to keep you going, most weeks, although since I left my book for others to use at UU, I won’t be able to refer directly to what we’re reading.
But I was there yesterday. Pema talked about Chogyam Trungpa’s “aids” to working with passion, aggression, and ignorance (the three poisons) in sitting practice, particularly. When passion or aggression have us in their grip, we can try noting particularly our breathing out, its spaciousness, its airy quality. We can place our attention on Big Mind, the larger “world.” If ignorance (often shows up as sleepiness) is our particular issue, we can focus on the senses, we can straighten our back, we can meditate standing up.
My first teacher, Shinzen Young, told a story of working with a meditator who could NOT stay awake. He enlisted Shinzen to sit with him over a long day or two and nudge him in some way, verbal or otherwise, each time he started to fall asleep. He broke through the tendency to sleep. And he said that his awareness took a quantum leap after that. We might not be able to do that, but we can note each time we start to get dozy. We can be aware of the sleepiness and be aware of having fallen asleep.
Ever since I had cancer, I need afternoon naps. I have found it very interesting to pay close attention to the falling asleep, to the softening of awareness. I can almost pinpoint the second I’m gone. So I guess we could do this practice in reverse this way. Note what it’s like to fall asleep.
Joy will be leading next week. I want to say again how important it seems to be to stick with sangha. This practice is so unlike the “normal” way of seeing the world, it only takes a few weeks of being away from like-minded friends for our ego to tell us we sure don’t need THIS silliness. Or for our ego to tell us something else is more important. Is it?