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I Meditate Because I Can

In the past few weeks, having settled down from a July full of vacation, I have been returning to my daily meditation practice.  Well, slowly, but surely, it's coming back.  My girlfriend and I actually keep a record of our sits on our refrigerator calendar.  I find this helps.  It creates a situation of accountability.  It also at times creates a comically inflated sense of accomplishment about the whole thing.

 

 

  After a while, I made the claim that tending to the shrine, actually keeping the shrine mindfully, treating the act like the ritual meditation it is, Should Be Recorded on the calendar.  I was like, Damn, that took me ten minutes, I want my Credit!  So, shrinekeeping in my household does now officially merit one meditation minutes on the Big Board, but kind of like meditation minutes with an asterik. 

I read Jerry's post about the Top Ten reasons to meditate and I wanted to add one today with my first post on the new blog.  While Jerry's list was brilliant and comprehensive, I did feel like one reason was missing: I meditate simply because I can.

Socrates once said that it would be a good life to merely look upon the beautiful.  Not to do anything in particular.  Not to achieve anything (even meditation minutes).  But merely to look upon the beautiful, whether that's a tree in the wind, a young woman in the meadow, or simply the space, whatever it is, before our awakened eyes.  I think of Socrates's comment when I'm in a museum or walking through nature.  (Brief aside: I made my first trip to Harriman State Park for a day hike.  That place is fracking beautiful.  I highly recommend it.)  But I also think of Socrates's comment when I'm standing there by the shrine, saying, To sit or not to sit?  Should I run off into the world and do something, writing something, become somebody, or should I just sit here and be for stretch? 

The funny, you might even say ironic, thing that it's almost always the wiser thing to just sit down.  Unless of course you're avoiding a crucial life situation by sitting, which definitely happens; one must be careful.  But generally speaking, it's always better to just sit, for all the reasons Jerry enumerated, and more.  The simple truth, and what I'm ultimately driving at here, is that sitting is a luxury.  A pleasure and a priviledge.  We meditators are lucky even to have the barest inclination to sit—the mere proclivity towards meditation itself is a tremendous blessing.  Moreover, we meditators are fortunate enough not to be living in poverty, not to have to bust our ass every minute of the day just to put food on the table for our families.  We are further fortunate to have been introduced to the teachings of the dharma in this life.  That we even know about meditation is a great gift.  It's easy to forget all of this in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  But, if I can, I stop and remind myself, for the love of all things holy, of how enormously lucky am I that I have a moment's peace to sit down, take a closer look at what's going on, and delve a little deeper into the mystery that is life.

I meditate simply because I can.

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