Ways I Have Been a Bad Meditator

2 02 2009

[Originally published — with pictures — at Killing the Buddha]

I have scratched the itch on my ear.

I have swallowed repeatedly.

I have thought about eating a piece of dark chocolate.

I have written this list while on retreat.

I have moved my leg because I couldn’t endure the pain in my knee.

I have wondered whether I left the oven on.

I have tried to remember the date of my niece’s birthday.

I have tried to slow my breathing.

I have looked at my watch before the meditation bell rang.

I have thought about whether to register for a retreat this coming summer.

I have thought about sending my sister a book on meditation.

I have thought about kissing the woman sitting on the cushion to my left.

I have thought about shushing the heavy-breathing man on the cushion to my right.

I have wanted the teacher to notice how well I am meditating.

I have wanted to ring the bell at the end of the group sitting.

I have wondered how the teacher can really meditate while constantly checking if it is time to ring the bell.

I have been angry with my mother for talking too much at the last family gathering.

I have missed my old girlfriend.

I have remembered why I broke up with my old girlfriend.

I have thought I can’t date anyone who isn’t a meditator.

I have been angry at the guy who parked his truck in front of my apartment and left the diesel engine running.

I have listened to the sound of the rain.

I have worried if I closed the windows of my car.

I have wondered if living in the moment means I don’t have to put money in a retirement account.

I have hated the way the teacher pronounces words with an “l” in them.

I have wondered why I find it charming when Tom Brokaw does that.

I have thought about eating a piece of dark chocolate.

I have imagined going to Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize in meditation.

I have thought about how my goddaughter laughs when I turn her upside down.

I have wanted this feeling of joy to continue.

I have tried to remember other ways I have been a bad meditator.

I have been bored and ended my meditation early.

I have focused on the rising and falling of my stomach while breathing when I was trying to focus on the sensation of my breath going in and out at my nostrils.

I have decided meditation retreats are a waste of time.

I have opened my eyes to look if the teacher’s eyes are open.

I have been angry about that parking ticket when I left my car for only two minutes.

I have wondered if I could ever complete this list.

I have been annoyed at the bird outside that won’t stop cawing.

I have wondered whether it is time to buy a new meditation cushion.

I have thought about making up items for this list.

I have hated the swallowing noises the person next to me keeps making.

I have decided I will never achieve enlightenment.

I have thought about how I don’t believe in reincarnation.

I have loved the smell of sandalwood incense.

I have wanted to give a dharma talk.

I have wanted to be egoless enough to not want to give the dharma talk.

I have told myself I am a bad meditator.

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