• Jeff Brenneman

Wandering Into Meditation

Day 2, walking, then sitting meditation. Morning sessions went pretty well. The Roshi started meeting with participants during the morning, but it will be a while before they get to me. Not sure what to expect. Think he will ask what brings me here, what I’m hoping to get out of it. I’ve got a couple of thoughts, and I’m not 100% sure what I’m hoping to get out of it.



Afternoon meditations 2:30-4:00, man this was tough. Started off okay and then I began to hurt, my back, my shoulders, my legs at times. My legs fell asleep every single meditation time. Every single time.

Does that happen to everyone? I mean, we can't talk so I can't ask anyone else if their legs are falling asleep.

I saw the Roshi this afternoon, and I guess I thought it was not what one is supposed to ask a Zen Master in the first meeting with him. "Um, what do I do about my legs falling asleep?" So, instead, I shake out my leg each time I stand up and hope there's enough time between meditation being over and starting walking that I won't end up falling down. Yep, that's how my brain works, or doesn't.


Then mindful movement led by one of the participants, enjoyed that.


Evening meditation was pretty incredible. I don't think I can really describe it, though. Think it might be one of those things that you will really have to experience to really understand, and I’m still going to try.


In the second of 3 meditations, I have no idea how far into it, my vision starts to go a little foggy. The best description I can give is that it felt like wispy clouds moving across my vision. I thought, at first, that I might be falling asleep, and then I realized that I still had awareness of my breathing and my body. And there I was, in this state where I was aware but I was so much more than that. It was almost the feeling of being drunk, except it was better because my senses weren’t dulled. It was the ‘mountain top’ experience I guess you could say. I don’t have any idea how long this lasted, and I know I came back down before the bell rang to end the meditation time.


I had this awareness, like really powerful feeling, that I was experiencing this moment at the same time as the people back home, at the same time as everyone on the planet. And, some how, I felt connected to all of it. In a profound way, everyone on the planet was experiencing that one moment all at the same time all together. I find myself having some judgments about it as I write this and yet that's the experience I had.


The third period of sitting went much the same way. It was incredible! And none of the words I’ve put down here really do it any justice.


I think those experiences are available to anyone who is willing to do the work to get there. And, by work, I mean letting go and just being mindful of this moment. I don’t know the ins and the outs of retreats. I’ve only been to one thus far. Everyone that was there had some kind of powerful transcendent experience.


Marsha Linehan used to ask her clients and those that worked for her whether they wanted mindfulness for psychological benefit or spiritual benefit. This wasn’t a question that she asked with one being better than the other, I don’t think. It was simply to check in to see what the person in front of her was pursuing, what kind of goals they had.


Anyway, I might be rambling now, so let’s just call it a post and publish.


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