Saturday, June 4, 2011

Maran ...cough...hack...splutter.... atha

I have had a bit of a cold for most of the week, and this despite the fact that I allowed myself to be injected with something that was supposed to ensure it wouldn't happen. I have also spent some of the week in hard physical labour, pulling cables, shifting dishwashers, lifting desks, pulling trailers - don't ask. For meditation it has meant sitting down twice a day with aching limbs, a slight fever, difficulty breathing and an incessant urge to cough. If I was in a mind to be distracted I had a lot of excuses, and some jolly good ones at that.

Dealing with all that has been, I am relieved to say, no big deal. The aim of meditation is awareness and the vagaries of my body are only distractions if I sit down with some preconceived idea of what awareness looks and sounds like. So coughing is an issue only if I believe somehow that awareness is precluded by it, which is of course, nonsense. As I still myself and leave both past and future to look after themselves, the aches and tickles and  itches are just a few more things to be aware of. Of course coughing or sneezing or itching become issues when they claim my focus and lead me off into reverie, or perhaps into some sort of inner struggle with myself in an effort to prevent them. But really, they are just part of how I am today. I deal with them as I deal with other distractions:  by acknowleding their presence; by recognising that my body has certain inconvenient ways of acting, by allowing them to do their thing if necessary while still keeping my attention on my word; by letting them be there without being captured by them. It's an odd thing how an awareness of the need to cough and of the lack of need to fight it means that often the tickle in my chest just recedes away. Or not as the case may be. Maranatha. The stillness can be there anyway.

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