Monday, April 13, 2009

Walking Backwards

A student at a Miksang Level One a few weeks ago pointed out that to try and reproduce/photograph a raw perception is a bit akin to canning a breath and saying "Let me show you this breath." (or something to that effect)

I spent Thursday and Friday of last week "walking backwards" with my friend Virginia (as she calls "going on retreat") and it is fascinating to see how even the notion of taking time to notice the present moment - through sitting meditation, walking meditation, photography and writing and collaging - quickly becomes kind of funny. As soon as one even notices the present moment it is already gone, much less trying to "reproduce", recognize or appreciate it. In fact, in the latest issue of the Shambhala Sun (which is very good this time around), Leonard Cohen chides even the use of the word "acceptance," as it seems to point to some "other thing" which can be accepted - inherently there is dualism in that idea.

I hit Saturday on the ground running. Social events, seder, errands to run and beautiful weather to be had. By the time I got through Nyinthun on Sunday I was gone. Really ready for a break after my retreat. Last night I slept a very solid 10 hours and now I look at the face of this next week, in preparation for another retreat this weekend, and finally see/feel/experience the smoothness of the steps back we took last week. Funny how though we may talk about "post-meditation" experience, or discuss how restful it is to actually be in silence, increasingly in my practice the "benefits" manifest days later, a bit like with a workout. First there's the experience, which may or may not feel "good". Then the pain of afterwards - sore muscles, shocked mind. Finally, the realization that once one picks up pace with "regular life", somehow the steps backwards have trained us to keep pace with a calmer face.

This week, anyway, and so far, meaning, today. This today. Now. As it passes me by and walks itself backwards into my memory, as I move forwards, as if this were a timeline with no time but the present. Both a dot and a wave.

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