Friday, August 1, 2008

But being over full of self affairs, my mind did lose it

Both my husband and daughter rose early this morning, and the general consensus -- since they were planning to go into Seattle together and had preparations to make before their trip -- was that I should wait to meditate until after they left.

I agreed to do so, and spent my time doing other chores and chatting with them, then got caught up browsing some art blogs, so I was a little slow to pull away from the computer after they left. By the time I did, I was hungry, so I did dishes and prepared a snack before settling into my chair for the morning's meditation.

But by then I was out of the "zone" that usually starts my day. The morning coffee had kicked in and the to-do lists were roaming freely through my consciousness, so all my efforts to stay focused met with pretty weak results. I stayed the course, because I understand that it's good practice for me to continue trying to access the peace while other parts of me are restless and out of tune, but it was with some relief that I rose from the chair to blow out the candle when the clock chimed quarter after.

Having been immersed in Shakespeare for so many days and nights, I find that odd lines from the play keep popping into my head: a clear indicator, I think, that even after all these centuries Shakespeare still has his finger on the pulse of humanity. This morning it was this line -- displayed in the title above -- from Theseus, as he attempts to justify his negligence to Hippolyta, that sprung to mind. It seems the perfect description of my failed meditation attempt...

I mean, no one thinks of Barbie and Ken having a meditation practice: it's all about the clothes, the social life, the travel and the jobs, the pink Barbie house and the pink Barbie car. We're most of us not so different (though perhaps more anatomically correct and less shapely) from these dolls; our minds are generally full of such affairs, and less inclined to look beyond the trappings of daily existence to the heart of life that lies beneath.

Which is why I try to sit before my day begins: it's easier to move into that space when my brain is still a bit befuddled with sleep. And it sets the tone for the rest of the day, taking charge before all the other voices -- my internal listmaker, my comparer, my acquisitor, my naysayer -- can attempt to dominate the day.

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