Walking, Outside, Mirror Meditation – 1998
Sitting in the garage on the jacuzzi pad and towels one couldn’t get focused at all. One could not focus for even 5 breaths on the sensation in the nose. One drank hot coffee again before going in so that one suffered a bit for sure. It was hot again, and the linger of clear varnish from past stained furniture still clung to the ceiling and walls.
One’s back ached from the boxing exercise yesterday, and the golf range today. One felt bugs on the body and saw a small spider on the wrist. One then stopped because the bug zapper was going crazy like a machine gun. One thought back to Thich Nhat Hanh’s experiences in which he saw and had many close friends (and strangers) die during the Vietnam and other wars.
One thought that in the way the bugs were killed while I sat–in the same way were men killed indiscriminately, not knowing why, not part of the decision, and not even agreeing to be put into the position to take life and to give their own. One thought that ‘barbarism begins at home’, old Smiths’ lyrics.
The pervading tone of killing the bugs at home because they are in the way or a bother is not much different in essence from political/religious leaders sending troops to kill men, women and children who are in the way and a bother to the goals of this certain group.
Though a fly/mosquito/spider has not all that man has–why should we take their lives for our own convenience? There are many more of them than there are of us! They live for a much shorter time and so life is of even greater importance to them because of its brevity. They are innocently led to slaughter by the bug light that kills indiscriminately not only those who have bitten and offended this body, but also those that were just in the area and were attracted naturally to the ultraviolet light.
Anyways, one got up to look at the bugs that had fried and one saw a junebug that had caused the machine gun noise. An innocent victim that would not have bitten.
While one was standing up one thought to do walking meditation in the garage because the mosquitoes wouldn’t land on one if one moved. One started walking 10 short slow steps from one end of the garage to the other. One concentrated on breathing sensations at the tip of the nose. One found that as one did so, the attention did not fall far from the breath.
Occasionally the attention was grabbed by some object on the floor of the garage or by some feeling in the feet that changed (walking over the extension cord), but for the most part a very concentrated state developed in which one became very calm and fairly concentrated. One did this for perhaps 10-15 minutes back and forth. One began to get a bit dizzy from walking in this almost circular pattern and so sat back down on the jacuzzi cover to continue sitting meditation.
One found concentration to come quickly and almost immediately. One then found that the left side of the nose at the base was extremely itchy! One had never been bothered so much by an itch before! One’s instant reaction was to scratch it, but instead, one opened the eyes and looked in the mirror to see if a bug had alighted upon the nose. No bug was seen and so one went about ignoring it.
This had no effect, as the sensation was extremely strong–as far as itching goes. One examined the sensation and found it to be a ticklish feeling and a very strong urging to do something about it. One thought that never before had such a strong urging been ignored by the mind!! One continued to sit with eyes closed and went with the itch instead of resist or ignore it.
One thought to ones self about how some Buddhist texts said that there is no state of being that is more attractive to be in than any other. One tried to come up with how that could be possible. One compared the current state of torture with a state in which there was no sensation or perception and tried to imagine which was better. One could not come up with an answer. This was one of the (first) few attempts to ignore sensations like itching, or pain while meditating, it should get better as one builds up the strength (or lets it go) to endure it. Even now as one writes this the itch is screaming for attention though one will not give it a reaction it so craves. (funny enough, just 25 minutes into this sitting session this one reacted completely on an unconscious level and scratched it one time that it was perceived by the mind without awareness!)
One began a different type of meditation today. One looked into the mirror directly in front of the self and stared into the face of the one looking back. One found that the experience provoked some different experiences. One saw the face change and distort some. One saw the face become as a slide image would look if projected over top of a picture of this body and head without a face. The sides of the face were blurred as if the face itself could be removed and put onto anyone else’s body and head.
The face appeared different in nature than the body. The face appeared as a dreamy, film-like quality–while the body appeared just a solid physical mass that was unchanged and generic (not special). As one continued to stare one had thoughts that one didn’t truly know which one was staring at which. One felt the itchiness in the nose and wondered if it was his or this ones.
One kept expecting the one looking back to do something unexpected or on his own. As this went on one could see that the body was absolutely still. One could not remember a time when one was so still and not moving to do something for such a long period (10-15 minutes). One felt nothing of the body, nor heard any of the environment–one just watched without judgment or conditioning.
This meditation will be done again at some point.