This morning I woke up to the amazing moon setting. The sky was so blue and I had to think where I was and what was I, what had I been doing. It was almost as if I thought I had been awake while the moon was doing its night thing.
I’m reminded how little my awareness counts. When I first started to meditate I was on a ten day retreat and we were asked to spend an hour doing “bare attention.”
I was so pleased to say how much I had seen, how I had observed this little thing and this other littler thing. I was filled with attention to details all around me.
My teacher was kind, he merely nodded and smiled. Later with a rush of red-faced awareness I realized I hadn’t done what was asked at all. It wasn’t about seeing what was around me that I was to spend my hour. No, not at all. But it would be years before that could wedge its way in to my very full and proud mind.
I was filled with facts and proud of it. Games with random facts were my pride. I could answer any question – bidden or not! No, it was years to my realization that what was inside was the fodder of practice. What was inside was the goal. I couldn’t have appreciated that and I didn’t. Not before I was ready.
I excused myself because I was so concentrated on what was outside. Looking for the right shot, the perfect moment was my only goal. I was like a herding dog with sheep. One thing dominated, it was all I had, my best shot.
I finally forgave myself a few years ago – after years of my hair standing on end every time I thought of that moment with my teacher. I was sure he would remember me for that. I was sure I would have remembered me had I been in his place. Still dominated by fact and memory was I!
It’s a slow process guiding inward. Still noticing, still doing what I do, but noticing intention. Noticing the back side of what I do. I notice that involves a lot of acceptance on my part. For myself. For others. I didn’t drop my bags right away. In a pinch I can still see the value of wit and sharpness as my goals of choice. But gradually I’ve learned to take a bit more time. To breathe before thinking, to think before speaking, and from time to time, to actually let something go.
And that’s when I really start noticing. I really start looking. And I feel I have something to say – if asked.