05 May, 2010

The Don't Know Mind

Most of the time when I engage in a sit, whether it regular daily meditation or a group sit I do it knowing it is probably the most important thing I can do to alleviate my regular human suffering. If enlightenmen
t ever comes it will be a great addition to the benefits of a regular sitting practice. I have said in previous posts that I do see a lighter approach to life, in general since I started daily sits.

Last night, I wanted to go have a beer while walking to my group sit, but decided that to forgo a good 40-minute meditation for the temporary happiness of a pint of beer began to seem like a foolish idea. It was a good call, and once I made the decision quickly I happily continued on to the sit. Arriving to see a substitute for my normal teacher, who I have heard once before. I told myself, just relax with any expectations. I greeted her and helped set up and sat down. I had a diverse sit, beginning with all the noise of people arriving late, and her dog checking out all the people one-by-one which made me break into a smile when he came around quietly. My technique, besides just watching the breath is to just see what arrives to my mind. I can go from single pointed concentration to a wide-open sky approach and back. The only thing I do very consciously is bring the mind back if it wonders too far in panacha(obsessional thought). Concluding my meditation, which towards the end when I dissolved my body to my pleasant surprise, the teacher talked about what kind of meditation is best for states of boredom or anxiety. Introducing the single-pointed concentration for boredom, and the wide-open sky approach for the anxious mind where the don't know mind seems appropriate. I think for me, the feelings I have can range between both at any time, sometimes masking one state for another. I was very interesting to hear a dhamma talk about resting in the Don’t Know mind.

So often we want to attack meditation like house-cleaning or book learning with our western sensibilities, thinking that once completed we will automatically advance to higher level...
or be OK. We think we are whipping the unknowns of life by always “doing” something. How often do you relax around not knowing while not doing anything? If we approach meditation when we are anxious with the Don’t Know mind the relaxation about life will creep into everyday life. I can’t ignore the unknowns of life by keeping myself busy. Things will happen at their own rate, and to be more relaxed in general will be a huge asset when life gets tough. So, I guess I really don't know.

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