Did You Quit Meditating… Again?

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Did You Quit Meditating… Again?

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.

Jizo Resting on the Ground

 

By | 2013-04-16T09:00:51+00:00 April 16th, 2013|Meditation, Uncategorized|4 Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Betty April 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I try to meditate, but some days even 10 minutes is hard to find time for. I’ll have to try the 5 minutes and see if that works better. My main obstacle is my cat. She’ll yowl and bang on the door if I lock her out and if I let her in she talks and climbs all over me. She doesn’t like to be left out of anything. I just need to try harder though. I always feel better when I meditate. Any suggestions?

  2. Valerie Johns April 23, 2013 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Betty, my dogs are always included in my meditation. I would allow your cat in and sit still with a timer set for 5 minutes. Just observe your mind while she yowls, or cuddles or licks. It is all part of the moment. Whatever you are thinking or feeling, just notice it and return to your breath, not forcing it or controlling it but simply noticing the natural in and out of it.

    Then, at five minutes, re-set the timer and again observe your mind, with kindness as your cat either settles in… or doesn’t. At the end of ten minutes, just get up and go about your day.

    After a few days, you may just set the timer for 10 minutes. Or 20. Or 30. And just sit. Sit. Sit. Observe. Be kind. Your cat is your dear friend and teacher. Be curious what happens as you continue to meditate with her.

    I use a mala bead, which I explain in the Tonglen blog. It gives a little structure to my Monkey Mind and Idea Horse (and Anxious Gymnast) who are all clamoring for my attention. I notice the parts of my mind that are Not Jizo and bathe them in compassion and return to the breath.

    It is the process of a lifetime. Not an event. Just try. The try is all that matters.

  3. Betty April 23, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Thanks. I’ll try again. Hopefully she’ll settle down, she just hates being ignored.

  4. Lauren ♥ On Fecund Thought April 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I think finding the time in this go-stop-go world, filled with interruptions and distractions, is what stops me from meditating. I started with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s body scan meditation 2+ years ago, but fell out of practice when my husband and I drove across the USA (NY to CA). Ever since, I’ve tried to live mindfully — without the meditation! I know it’s cheating… I justified cheating by doing T’ai Chi mindfully instead.

    I explored why I couldn’t commit to the idea of setting aside 45 minutes a day, every day, for the rest of my life. Then I had to laugh at such an un-mindful statement! As a wise woman I know said, “meditation becomes a pleasure to look forward to, an escape from the world.” I envied her that.

    Recently I signed up for UCSD’s MBSR course. With recent life events, I feel I could use some grounding. I’m ready for it. Thanks for this post — I am committed to doing a 45-minute session every day for the 8-week course; after that, if I get ‘stuck’, I will remember to re-read this post.

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