When you look into a pool of water, if the water is still, you can see the moon reflected.
If the water is agitated, the moon is fragmented and scattered.
It is harder to see the true moon.
Our minds are like that. When our minds are agitated, we cannot see the true world.
In week three of Sharon Salzberg’s meditation plan we’re yet again trying to be mindful but this time with regard to our emotions.
We’re going to use to take a closer look at our emotional state.
Again, we’re not trying to ban all the ‘bad’ emotions, we’re just going to be more aware of them and accept them for what they are, a passing state of mind.
This week’s aim is to meditate five times for 20 minutes. I honestly never meditate for more than 4 times a week, but if it fits your schedule, feel free to do so. Personally I like to meditate in the morning, just after I wake, and I only have time to spare for 4 (max 5) mornings to do this, other mornings I’m too anxious the hit the pavement (or the wood trails) as soon as I wake up.
Here’s a totally unrelated photograph, but I wanted something to break up the wordiness of the post and I do really like this photograph 😉
The exercises can be compared to a body scan, but now we’re doing an emotion scan, we’re also going to try to pay attention to the physical reactions those emotions evoke.
I had a very though week when I did week three of the program (I haven’t really been following the plan too strict: I started week three about three weeks ago and did those exercises for two weeks instead of one, so I’m already in week four as I’m writing this).
But back to week three: I started it in my first week getting back in Leuven and the change of environment and the rush and planning of my first week back at college made it really hard for me to concentrate.
I was constantly so excited and jumpy, it made meditation a living hell instead of a moment to revitalise.
I had an enormous check-list at the beginning of the academic year: classes had to be chosen, books had to be bought, arrangements had to be made, choosing a subject for bachelor paper… and as soon as I sat down and tried to relax, I couldn’t help but thinking about all the stuff I still had to do and new things for the to do list sprang to mind… not so relaxing.
But as soon as I finished some things and was able to cross things of my list, my focus came back along with the joy of meditation (thank God!).
This is a good example of how you can tell what kind of emotional state you’re in just looking at how your meditation sessions are going. This also applies on emotions that aren’t all that clear in everyday life in the first place.
Meditation thus can help you figure out your emotional state of mind.
Next post on this subject will be about the last week of the program, loving kindness.