15 Dec. Dukkha! Dukkha! Dukkha! (Formerly titled: Relaxed diligence.)

It took me way too long to fully wake up this morning. I woke up tired and sleepy. So I only managed to sit for 20 minutes. And yet, it was a good sitting. I worked on deepening my concentration. I placed my attention on the inside of my nose and focused on the sensation of the cold air coming in and out. (Another option was to focus on the upper lip, at the base of the nose. But my nose is just way too big to feel anything there.) After the sitting, I realised that there was more concentration than heedlessness in my morning sitting. I honestly don’t know how did it happen. The only way I can describe it is by using words of Leigh Brasington who called that type of effort a relaxed diligence.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. I really feel that I should meditate more. That I should find a way to sit for longer than an hour each day. It won’t happen in the evenings though. Too tired. And also, I have more important things to do – like reading bedtime stories to my 7 years old son and talking to him about Universe, dinosaurs, life after death, evolution and God. There is no way I will ever be able to progress in meditation while cheating on my kids. I really feel that the effort I put into meditation is equally important as my behaviour in between the meditation sessions. If I’m not fulfilling my responsibilities diligently then my meditation is a lie.

A few days ago I did a favour to a complete stranger which involved driving him around Ireland (3 counties north, 3 counties south, 3 counties north again and 3 counties south again). I almost crashed my car twice while driving through narrow, icy, unfamiliar rural roads early in the morning, in a complete darkness. Part of the favour involved spending an hour and a half with him in a waiting room in one of Dublin’s hospitals. So I sat there among all those poor people – some of them fighting cancer, others apparently suffering from drug-related diseases. (I lived in Dublin for a few years and I can recognise the sunken cheeks, yellowish skin, type of clothes and jewellery of a drug addict.) My phone had no signal, I didn’t have a book with me, so I could only sit there staring at the tv screen. They were showing a documentary about Syrian children wounded during air strikes. Saying that my nerves were wrecked is an underestimation. I was close to tears. Dukkha! Dukkha! Dukkha! Dukkha is not limited to the shortage of money, broken leg or a broken heart. Oh, we silly Westerners, so occupied with our comfy life, not having a clue about the raging ocean of suffering just below the surface of our existence ready to swallow us in any moment!

This is why I find reading bedtime stories to my son the most important thing in the world.

Last night, I dreamed about Chester Bennington performing a high diving stunt in a some sort of circus. And also about escaping a prison island with Varg Vikernes on a raft made out of bicycle parts, sticks and sheets.

As you can see, I really need my meditation.

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