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Once Upon a Silent Sitting

Updated on December 30, 2012
Once Upon a Life Story
Once Upon a Life Story | Source

“The deep and inner of self is the deep and inner of everything.”

“Selflessly search self and all the secrets of others will be found. Deepest of self is the deepest of others. Knowing self is knowing others. The inner way is the outer way.” –Ray Grigg


I sat to my usual weekend silent sitting meditation, thinking the routine beginning reminders: “curious, open, nurturing, attentive, accepting.” These are the attitudes I needed to take into the sitting, towards whatever thought or feeling arises along with every breath that I inhale and exhale. I also needed to check on my posture for S-L-A-T-E-M every now and then.

I breathed in, “Ham” on the inhale and out, “sa” on the exhale.

In a few moments, I noticed hearing the chirping of crickets.

In a short while, I could hear the tsk-tsk’ing of the lizard.

Not long after, I heard the humming of the old refrigerator motor as it automatically kicked back in.

And each time, I wished the moment would give itself in to more silence.

It’s hard not to wish for silence when you’re trying to meditate. But even that has to be let go of. Even the wanting has to be let go off. Everything, as in everything has to be touched “like a bubble, with a feather” a Pema Chodron describes.

Every arising thought or feeling becomes an opportunity for self-compassion.

So I then let go of wanting the noise to go away and went back to the breath, “Ham, sa”.

But before I could finish the sitting, another strong feeling arose. I was trying to will the thoughts away. I wanted a “perfect”, thoughtless meditation. Finally when I noticed this was what was happening, I was able to let go of wanting it to be a perfect meditation.

I recalled my favorite type of photography: available light, working with whatever amount of light there was. And I was able to likewise remind myself:

Let the moment be just as it is.

Once Upon A Life Story

Towards the end of my silent sitting, I noticed a strong tightness in my neck area. I realized that this was a sign that my ego has kicked and was judging the sitting as not being fruitful and willing the situation to have a quality other than what it had.

So it is for most of us, with events we encounter in daily life. Events arise which normally cause our ego to kick in, with its repertoire of reactive response patterns such as striking back at the antagonist or repressing our feelings. Hopefully we will come to realize that the normal or usual egoic pattern of responding to life is not at all a sane and humane way of being in the world.

By determined, consistent practice, we hope to have developed awareness or consciousness and notice when an event triggers accompanying thoughts and feelings. We then try to learn to stay with the feeling and let go of wanting or willing the feeling away. A lot of us have learned to count our breath to help resist provocation. Having this habit in itself is already a sign of progress since not most of us are able to refrain from acting out fight or flight reactions before giving these actions the appropriate amount of thought they deserve.

Ideally, we try to learn the discipline of touch-and-go, touching the thought or feeling of the moment like a bubble with a feather, not making a big fuss out of the situation. Just like in silent sitting, we say “thinking” as if touching the thought and feeling lightly with a feather, letting it go and getting back to our awareness of the breath. With this gift of our Presence to the moment, we can then move on to the next step of deciding on an appropriate response to the situation. Having reached clarity of thought before embarking on an action, we are then able to respond with a more insightful and creative behavior towards the situation.

Whether we practice silent sitting meditation or not, we can practice the touch and go principle along with staying with the feeling, for every event that triggers shenpa in our common everyday experiences. Having been blessed with so many opportunities to practice, eventually we discover that we have a great capacity for loving kindness or maitri.

Eventually we discover our capacity to make each lesson in learning maitri a very enlightening aspect of a lifetime adventure, leading us to an understanding of our life story the way our Soul wants it to unfold, which is so unlike the life story the world is showing in a harsh light.

The Deep and Inner of Self

Learning maitri seems to somehow get us more closely connected with our True Self. With this connection comes self-knowledge and a deep appreciation of the Sacred in everything. And thus a corresponding love, compassion and reverence for all that exist. Along with these, a deeper understanding of self and others.

Thus the experience becomes just an affirmation of the teaching:

“The deep and inner of self is the deep and inner of everything.”

“Selflessly search self and all the secrets of others will be found.

Deepest of self is the deepest of others. Knowing self is knowing others. The inner way is the outer way.”

–Ray Grigg, “The Tao of Being: A Think and Do Workbook”


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    • Quirinus profile image

      Queirdkus Ω Ibidem 5 years ago from Sitting on the Rug

      Thanks for the encouraging comments. I believe so too. Beyond rituals, people look to religion for help in discovering spirituality and finding lasting happiness.

      Have a joyful and wondrous 2013 and years to come, Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well described. More "religions" should make this part of a regime.