I finally got around to actually reading my copy of Shambhala Sun, which I think, since I've been feeling very much like a complete and total failure at my meditation practice, was put off because I am feeling so guilty. There's an article by Norman Fischer where he talks about reinvesting oneself in the practice and taking it slowly by giving oneself a two week trial. He has all these USEFUL tips like getting up earlier. (Really? Never thought of that...um, hello, if I got up any earlier, i'd never be going to bed in the first place, but anyway).
And then, somewhere else in the issue there's another article where the author talks about the quality of the meditative experience. And I had an epiphany. Or rather, his wisdom became my epiphany (i'm never sure how that works). Anyhoo. I'm always waiting for something to sort of happen when I meditate (I know, I know, WRONG WRONG WRONG) but, truly, I'm sort of waiting for a "nothingness" to happen, since that's the point. Only I hardly ever get to nothingness, because I'm too busy quieting the mind. I get like a second of nothingness and then I'm back to wrestling with the walrus of worry. So, whoever it was (to whom I'm now not giving ample credit) said that just sitting IS meditating. That's it, he said, just sit there. Whatever happens while you're sitting IS your practice. That's why they call it practice. We're not supposed to get good, we're supposed to sit there and struggle and that's the point and that's just hunky dorey.
This takes all the pressure off for me. All I have to do is sit. I can sit. I'm sitting right now. I sit a lot. I can (generally) just sit still for 15 or 20 minutes. Yes! This I can do.
So, getting up this morning (earlier, sigh) to just sit, seemed, somehow, a little more do-able. I sat and I stayed awake and it was all good. Never mind that the walrus spent most of that time sharpening his tusks, there were a few good moments of just....nothing.
We're not really supposed to talk about our meditation practices. At least that's what Jon Kabat-Zinn says (and, clearly, he should know) but I'm writing about it in case anyone happens to be struggling with this pressure of expectation in their own meditations.
They say that 90% of success in life is "just showing up." I'm going to apply that to my practice and hope that 90% of success in meditation is "just sitting."
We shall see.