Sitting at our regular Tuesday night sitting group my entire body felt in alignment with my mind in a space of deep concentration and alertness. As I sat in meditation all parts of my body were locked-in together like a very solid building structure. I felt no urge for movement, no pain or discomfort in the body meant anything. Even when the teacher rang the bell and it was time to get out of meditation, my mind and body completely at ease, alert and stable did not wish to stop meditating. I think I sat there for the rest of the night with my eyes closed and without much movement. It just felt right. I was alert, I heard every word of the dharma talk and every word that our sitters had shared. I wasn’t tuned out. I was right there, stable, present and solid.
After we left the session, I reflected on this perfect experience of ease and strength both in the mind and the body that I had not experienced quiet in the same way before. And I realized it was all due to the love of the practice I had developed during this weekend at the Abhayagiri Monastery. As I participated in all the meditation sessions, listened to dharma talks and asked questions about my own practice and understanding of it I felt a leap into a different level of ease. I can’t tell you how effective the response to all my questions were as the smiling monk answered them. I had been there before, cherished my stay and experiences; participated in all the talks and events but never before did I voluntarily do extra meditation. This time I did extra sessions of walking meditation and sitting on my own. My mind wanted to. I was looking for that ease, comfort and concentration. All agendas of why so and so does this or doesn’t do that or all the desires of the heart just faded away. It must have been the effect of the monk’s responses. Well, I had them before, too. Why this sudden shift of no effort? My mind felt like a dutiful, loving and responsive child who has got the routine down and is not in conflict with it.
I guess that is what they mean when scientists and experts of brain development say that with consistent and long term meditation the brain develops new grooves and pathways. The frontal cortex, which is responsible for managing our lives integrates better with the rest of the brain and becomes a collaborative chunk instead of being fragmented and every man for himself, so to speak.
I shared with a sitter last night that it (referring to my stay and practice at the monastery) felt as if I got a very strong dose of peace and concentration vitamin shot. Of course, this is not only impacting my love for meditating and wanting to sit more, but as a result has enhanced the way I am experiencing everyday difficulties specially when the results of what I do turn out contrary to my wishes or expectations. In a sense expectations seem to be slowly fading away. The need to plan perfectly and expect them to work is also slowly and effortlessly falling away. And what is taking place is an ease, comfort and wisdom that creates more of what I really want at the core and less of what I really don’t want. I’m also better able to transfer the insights I gain to my students and clients.
I am grateful to all the teachers and practitioners of mindfulness. May the blessings of all our efforts benefit all beings.