I know you have heard that we meditate to improve cognitive functioning, to bring peace, to cope with anxiety, and for myriad other reasons — just fill in the blanks. Bottom line: the consensus is that meditating is good for you. Kind of like broccoli.
And yet, most of us quit. Eventually. And still, many of us who quit long to return. Those who quit liked doing it, but did not have time or did not feel what they thought they should feel, e.g., happy! Really happy, happy like Snoopy doing the suppertime dance with his bowl over his head.
The goal in the beginning of it all was so simple. Sit on the ground. If that is not comfortable, lie on the ground. Some folks sit in chairs. It does not matter. All that matters is trying.
When we are on the ground, we are greeted by Jizo Bodhisattva whose Sanskrit name is Ksitigarbha. It’s translation to English is roughly Earth Womb, Earth Treasury or Earth Matrix. As the Bodhisattva who promised Buddha he would remain on the earth until everyone was finished suffering, Jizo‘s role is like that of Mother Earth. The earth holds each plant, each seedling and each tree alike as they grow.
The plant, the seedling, the tree need not worry about the earth. It is there. Constant. The plant, the seedling, the tree do not wonder if they are good enough, rich enough, thin enough, spiritual enough, smart… Enough.
Thus, in seeking to know our own Jizo-nature, we are seeking a sense of ground to hold us while we grow. We may not feel comfortable while we are growing. We may feel intense resistance to the challenges and changes of any given day. But if we can get in touch with the comforting idea of Jizo, of what holds us safe to the ground, then we may cultivate the ability to face life with equanimity.
In practice, there are many ways to utilize Jizo. If we are living a hectic life, we may use Jizo in the beginning of the day to meditate consistently. Instead of oversleeping and fighting our day, if we begin with setting an egg-timer for five minutes, we can sit and use our breathing. In. I am safe… Out. I am safe… In. Safe… Out. Safe. We will notice restlessness. We will judge it. But we can also can notice that we are judging and return to the Jizo breath: In… Safe… And out… Safe…
In sitting with our bodies and minds held by Jizo, we are babies again, safe in the womb. All needs met. No unkindness, no disruptions or disturbances. Just the whoosh of Mother Womb. Floating in safeness.
Try meeting your Jizo in meditation. Set an egg timer for five minutes and be on the earth. Try for seven days in a row. If you quit, return to this page and start again. Almost everyone I know has quit meditating, again and again. Just gently return to the practice. For now, that’s all there is. Just practicing. Later there is time for more.
See you there.