The Practice, The Obstacles, The Result

My mind has degraded in the absence of a consistent daily hour on the cushion for the past several years.

I am dull.

I am a mass of uncontrolled mental and physical excitation.

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There is only one meditation practice:

The meditator decides to restrict the natural flow of attention, and the awareness that rides along with it, from its habitual patterns of movement by doing something with it.

There are no exceptions to that rule, although it is not immediately obvious if you’ve learned various meditation techniques in the past. The more time and energy you have invested in your current models of meditation, and the more authoritative your teacher or tradition, the harder it becomes to see it.

All the many variations we call different meditation styles are created by our choices made regarding, among a few other things, what to hold attention on, how many things to hold attention on at the same time, how hard, or gently to hold attention, and when to break attention.

The most entertaining versions insist you aren’t doing anything at all – in an effort to trick you into getting out of your normal mode of operation and into a different one.

The vast number of practices created by the mixing of the elements described above do create differing effects in the mind as you do them, making them appear to be different while also providing sometimes useful experiences that arise in differing ways, but the process and the goal, once they are correctly understood, are always the same: decide to place attention somewhere and hold it there for a while so you can become fully present with whatever you are looking/feeling/thinking/smelling/tasting/hearing at.

The result of that practice is explosive.

Using meditation as a calming tool is like swatting a fly with an atom bomb.

Meditation is, and always has been, designed to blow you up, not calm you down.

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In the variation of the practice I am doing this year I apply effort to bring attention to the numbers one through ten imagined and visualized inside of my body – to the exclusion of all else.

I do not work to block, label, or otherwise acknowledge distractions. I effort only toward presence with my desired object. If I get lost I return to the number one when I realize I am lost. If I get distracted I return to the number one when I realize I am distracted.

Repeat for one hour every day.

I apply persistent, patient, heavy effort.

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In today’s meditation sit I made legitimate contact with the numbers for about two minutes out of sixty.

The obstacles were heavy mental fog that blocked the numbers from forming and a constant flow of distracting thoughts and sensations that pulled attention away from its intended location.

There is much work to do.

It is amazing how memorable the two minutes of presence, were, though. The experience of a bright, clear, unobstructed, stable mind is unparalleled.

More of that, less of the other.

We start again tomorrow.

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