Sunday mornings revisted

Outside, the rain has disguised itself as clear air, only revealing itself after you venture out. It’s the type of rain that’s difficult to have a relationship with, for the drops are spread too thin for you to consistently connect with the weather. Given time, a walker might slowly get wet on this peaceful Sunday morning, but it’s too temperate to bother carrying an umbrella. It defies easy description. I like it though.

It’s mornings like this where I don’t want to spend any real time worrying about what the weather is doing. Whatever is happening outside is just fine, for I have no distinct plans for leaving the house. If I leave, I’ll prepare for rain, and that’s about as far as I’ve decided.

About a month ago, I wrote a post entitled “What to do on a Sunday morning,” which addressed what a religious apostate might do with the time that had previously been designated to their holy rituals. For Christians, Sunday morning is typically that time, and I wrote about some of the enjoyable things one might do such as sleep in or spend some time making a lavish breakfast. But perhaps maintaining the time as one to observe the numinous isn’t such a bad idea; just mediate or walk in the woods instead of going to church.

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I’ve been practicing meditation a bit in the past few weeks. For as much as it may look as if the mediator is doing nothing, it’s surprisingly difficult, in part because the mediator is in fact attempting to do nothing. When was the last time you genuinely attempted to do nothing? Not just sitting there physically doing nothing, but pushing out the thoughts of what you could be doing, or have to do later, or even the random thoughts about what happened yesterday or a joke you were told back in college. The only thing you’re doing is breathing, the base level of existence (or that’s what you’re attempting to do, at least).

Though it ebbs and flows, I’m getting better at meditating. Today I had a wonderful experience where I managed to push out a great deal of the thoughts that typically bombard me and I spent a few precious minutes simply acknowledging my breathing and the way my skin felt as the soft light from outside, diluted by a blanket of clouds, shone on my eyelids. This was a huge shift from the time before, where I got up in less than half of the time I designated for meditation due to a frightful anxiety. I told myself that I was wasting my time, and that’s why I got up, but in all honesty I let my thoughts get the best of me and I completely failed to push them aside. By the end, I couldn’t shake the idea that even my breathing was pulling poison into my body, and I just had to leave.

Granted, an experience like that is probably more along the lines of a worst-case scenario when you’re mediating, but it should be stated that it’s simply not easy to put your life and the world aside even for 10 minutes. Your brain is going to fight you on this. But if you succeed to any degree, it’s incredibly rewarding. So whereas I still intend on using my Sunday mornings to sleep in, make a nice breakfast, and otherwise just burn up time because it’s mine to waste, I have every intention of continuing my meditation practice. In time, I might even make it a daily thing; how great it would be to begin the work day by pushing out the stress of the world, essentially taking the garbage of the mind to the curb so that you can start out clean. Or perhaps it’s more like letting a gentle rain slowly clear the air of dust and smoke, so that one can breathe cleanly throughout the day.

Either way, it sounds to me like something to strive for.

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