This song by alternative folk band ‘Seize the Day’ comes to mind this morning. I’m thinking about meditation and what to write. How not much happened in practice yesterday and how more and more I’m OK with that. There is a new contentment with experience. The demand for it to be interesting or insightful has dropped. Sometimes it feels like the mind is drifting and getting a bit lost in mind scraps, mental flotsam and jetsam and I wonder if it’s just a slightly pleasant dreamy state. But the contentment is undeniable. There is ease and spaciousness in a mind that doesn’t need anything else to happen in the moment.
Ease and a naturalness have been long cultivated and hard won in a mind that is much more conditioned towards striving, towards strained effort and results. The tendency to ‘fiddle’ with my experience to adjust to something ‘better’ or closer to the idea of what I think should happen has been tamed with curiosity. ‘Curbing mind’ has been seen over and over coming in sharply and cutting short a renegade thought. It has gradually lost its brute force and urgency through being known in the aware mind.
I’m looking to see the mind in its natural state. The ‘fiddling’ or ‘curbing’ are part of that. I see how they create suffering in the mind causing the tightening in my shoulders and beginnings of a headache. Attempting to control thoughts, images and stories leads to dukkha creating tension. There’s no need to ‘let go’ of these things: seeing them in awareness, knowing them for what they are and having a certain amount of interest in the process is enough.
Like the naturalist studying nature (take David Attenborough for example!) I’m just looking to see what’s happening rather than interfere with how the anthill community or the mind function. Through simple observation of the mind in its natural state, going about its ‘work’ of thinking, perceiving, planning, intending, fantasising to name just a few of its functions a universe opens up.
It’s not the universe of ‘content’ but one of process. Like nature for the naturalist almost anything from the weirdest and ugliest bugs becomes interesting and a thing of beauty to be marvelled over. What does a thought feel like? How do I know I’m feeling? What is the difference between anger and sadness felt in the body? Not asking these questions for an answer but to allow interest in direct experience to grow.