18 Aug. The house is not quiet.

Last night, 20 minutes. Before closing my eyes I remembered my goals: developing concentration, observing the three marks of existence. And also what the Buddho meant to me: knowing about the emptiness and stillness underlying every thought. And I gave myself a pat on the back for keeping my practice going…

And the meditation turned out very well. 10 minutes of Buddho mantra. Good focus. So I moved onto anapanasati. Another 10 minutes. I recognized that there was nothing personal in breathing. The breath was happening on its own. I tried to detach from the idea that this body was me…

Being aware of my breath I was also aware of my body. Then I became aware of the chair I was sitting on, a table in front of me, kitchen walls. I tried to perceive my body the same way I perceived everything else in the room – still and unchanging on the outside but in reality in constant movement, deteriorating, declining. So yeah, observing anicca and anatta.

Here is a poem I wrote last winter about this experience.

the house is not quiet

when my kids finally
fall asleep
the house appears quiet and still

except it’s not
when I sit I hear the movement of the walls
cracking sounds in the ceiling –
is someone tip-toeing
through the dark rooms?

wood groans, doors squeak
pipes expand and contract
the wind presses against the windows
fills the chimney with sad whispers
everything decays and declines
secretly, persistently

there can’t be any stillness
in this world

when my kids finally
fall asleep I sit
I am quiet and still

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