All of us want to improve our practices. Sometimes we work on our concentration. Sometimes we work on our awareness. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to deepen my practice along both vectors over the last few months. The unfortunate side effect is that the rest of my life has become more hectic and less tranquil. Hectic to the point that I’ve not had time to actually write anything here.
On the concentration track, I spent an inordinate amount of time on airplanes crossing the country this past summer. There is a certain quality of quiet and flow you experience when you become an experienced traveler. I recall smiling to myself while descending a particularly tall escalator at Boston Logan airport. I recognized that the scene was so familiar that I had stopped seeing it. I wasn’t spinning on what my flight number was, was I late, would I make it, did I forget anything or anything like that. I was enjoying a moment of solitude among a crowd, simply listening to my breath as I moved down toward the corridor below. I was so concentrated on my breath and ease, that I had forgotten to be present with the activity and scenery around me. Concentration before awareness.
I missed many opportunities to sit with my sangha over the course of the last few months as well. I also had my normal routine of sitting, exercise, daily activity disrupted repeatedly. I became acutely aware of the unease and shifts in my attitude, psyche and inward demeanor when I would miss meditating even for a day; the subtle impatience, the increased heart rate when some frustration or road block would come up; the few extra seconds it would take to fall asleep. I became more and more sensitive to my own practice and all the ways it effects my physical and emotional being. This awareness can be quite distracting if you react to it. Awareness before concentration.
Now the challenge is to bring these two together as in the Samadhi Sutta : “There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness.”
I’ll endeavor to keep writing while I practice and try to manage the life of a parent, manager, investor, son, husband, strategist, home owner and so on, and so on and so on…….