Today was the first day of my summer discipline schedule and I have found the organisation of my life around a pre-determined timetable to be quite relieving and helpful for the cultivations required as I journey to the other shore. I was able to meditate for one hour in the morning after waking up, but I was not able to wake up at 7am as I had intended and got up at 8am instead. I did not feel bad about this however and immediately jumped onto the cushion to begin my morning sit. The retreat I just completed seems to have filled me with a reservoir of equanimity and while my mind remains agitated and full of incessant activity, there is hardly the slightest stirring of negativity at this and I remain seated in the lotus posture serenely trying again and again only to be thwarted as my mind’s vibrations sent it every which way. I am quite happy with this new development in my path, but I am not satisfied by it. I will not settle until the root of suffering is expunged, annihilated, destroyed, and overcome. But I am happy to note the progress in the cultivation of equanimity.
One problem which remains is the lack of a balance of energy. While on the Goenka retreat, I was able to monitor my energy levels and adjust them as per the requirement. For instance, my mind would feel very heavy and lax after lunch and it was always a challenge to remain awake during these periods of meditation. I would respond to this by taking a brisk five minute walk outside with my face to the sun and this was sufficient to energise my mind out of its lethargic torpor. Likewise, whenever it began to become agitated with thoughts and desires, I would redirect this energy to a focussed concentration meditation with my awareness directed to a very small spot at the tip of my nose and this would be successful (sometimes) at calming the mind down so that I may return to the body scanning involved in vipassana. My current problem is that my mind is incredibly distracted and refuses to acquiesce to my attempts at calming it down in order to practice vipassana. For this reason I am forced to spend the vast majority of the hour doing concentration mediation with limited success. Where previously I might not have been able to last an entire hour in this manner due to the frustration that arises because of an aversion to having to continually re-apply the awareness onto the nostril, my strong equanimity presently allows me to remain and continue to try. I have reason to believe that sticking with it, even when it is hard and the mind is unyielding, is exactly what is required in order to train the mind. Even if it doesn’t settle down, what is required is to keep trying and to keep re-applying the awareness. However, if there is some way that I can achieve a balance of energy so that the restlessness of the mind does not interfere with my meditation, I should cultivate it. This will probably consist in minimising distractions during the day so that my mind can remain calm when it comes time to sit my meditations. I have noticed that the restlessness of the mind mostly consists of sense-objects which have been apprehended during the day and which are brought back in front of the mind with great rapidity, as well as potential future scenarios and their sense-object contents in order to have a good strategy for meeting these occurrences. In short, my mind becomes occupied by the past and the future and ignores my attempts to hold it in the present moment. For this reason, the less that happens to me during the day, or the less engaging whatever happens is, the easier will be my concentration as my mind will have less food for thought. So, I resolve to attempt to bring the distractions of my day down to a minimum.
May all beings be happy