It’s 7:00 am and I’m sitting beside Jody’s bed after she’s asked for a drink of water. She’s dozed off again. And so I’ll meditate. I find that I usually can fall deeply within a minute or two. The Buddha talked about “choiceless awareness”, allowing whatever thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that come up to be there, and just watching them as they arrive and later leave.
I used to wonder what to do with my hands, but why bother? Now I just cup my right hand in the left, letting my right thumb rest on the left one. I can’t hear my breath. It’s very slow. I’m very still. Cozy.
I hear Jody’s slow breathing. I smile and let it embrace me. Sometimes there’s a break in the rhythm – a little grunt – and I smile some more. All part of the symphony. My breathing and Jody’s aren’t on the same beat, and that doesn’t matter at all. Actually, nothing matters. I just welcome the moments as they come towards me.
My stomach groinks, and then once again. Jody’s replies with a similar sound. My goodness, it’s a conversation. Another smile. I know that a small clock is sitting nearby but I don’t open my eyes to see it. Wouldn’t do me any good in the dark anyway. I hear the thought, “Find out what time it is. Find out how long you’ve been meditating.” A smile and a gentle “No thanks” in reply.
Thoughts of being in the meditation hall at IMS bubble up. Comparing this to that. And I watch that go. Such a blessing to welcome it all – the arriving, the abiding, the departing.
Then the itch. A few inches below my right nipple. “Scratch it.” “Don’t.” I let it alone, just observing instead. It gets stronger but after a short time lessens to nearly nothing. As I continue, the itch flares again (five more times!) and then recedes, over and over.
I turn my head way to the left, and then to the right, enjoying the crackle sound. “Don’t turn your head. Be still.” Later I turn again. “It’s okay, Bruce.” No right or wrong when I’m meditating. No deficit. And increasingly, no yearning. I like it.
At some point, with Jody continuing to saw logs, I open my eyes in the dim light, get up from the chair and lie down again on the foam pad beside her bed. I don’t look at the clock. Everything is fine.