“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
~ Old Zen Saying~
I’m a lazy Buddhist.
Some days I’m more of a lazy Protestant, Hindu, Jew, Taoist, Muslim or Catholic. It just depends on how I’m feeling. I like to go with the spiritual flow, if you know what I mean.
How can I be all of those things? Well, it’s kinda like this; I really struggle to wear the uniform of any single religion. I’m spiritual, and have found a home in my Buddhist practice. It brought me to a much deeper understanding of my Protestant roots, and my academic study of religion.
But I’m lazy about it.
Today I put off a full day of meditation because I woke up with the same headache and sniffly nose that I went to bed with last night.
Mind you, I could have taken a seat in the meditation hall full of decongestants with a side of tissues, but it was so very much easier to stay in bed and cuddle with my 1500 count, aubergine-coloured sheets.
Granted the other folks attending today’s retreat are thankful that I didn’t come and clutter up their atmosphere with sniffles, bacteria, and a high level of shifting on my organic buckwheat hull-filled cushion, I could have gone.
Instead, I got up, had a glass of water and went back to bed, where, my body and mind rested for 5 more hours.
As usual, I made my way to my preferred coffee shop, sat back, and read the news. The piece that caught my ever-distracted eye was in the Focus section of the Globe and Mail. Crushed, by Erin Anderssen was a bell back to some thought about my own practice, and how, when I need it the most, I abandon it like a kitten distracted by an ant.
I have been worrying a lot lately. A lot. Worry is something that used to drive me toward my goals and accomplishments. Now it just drives me to bourbon, quick fixes and eventually, back to my breath.
Friendships wax and wane. Everyone has their own problems, and let’s face it, even though you may ask for someone to share their perspective, decisions have to be made with your very own unique concoction of rational thought and intuition. I tend to go heavy on the rational thought, and overboard on the intuition.
In the past, decisions that I’ve made from a place of fear or worry have been quick fixes that offered only temporary satisfaction.
For a week I’ve been stewing over something pretty hard. A simple ten minute session on my cushion mid-week, just before bedtime, offered some release, and the most solid night of sleep I’ve had in months. I woke up with a new perspective.
So today I missed a great opportunity to share sacred, even holy, space with other people who know the power of practice within the safe space of a sangha. Instead, I chose to rest my own body and mind.
I felt guilty about not going, but then I decided to be at peace with peace. Both at letting myself get some solid rest, and for making a decision that wavered contrary to popular opinion. Just to be sure, I did some math, and realized that both my intuition and rational thought process were right on the money.
This week I had expressed my fears, hopes and thoughts to my friends, soliciting their perspectives and advice. They offered support when I had come to a conclusion, and confided that with regard to this matter that was on my mind, I had made a poor decision before. I had to agree, and then, after calming my mind, I had to disagree.
This is life. Lived uniquely on our own, despite being surrounded by people; some caring, some sent teachers, and some we will never know.
Am I a lazy Buddhist, or am I just one who, working intensely with human loss each and every day, needed some space?
Breathing room and solitude are often mistaken for sloth. Don’t let anyone else’s ideas fool you.
When in doubt, hit the floor and give yourself ten for zen. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.