I’ve been feeling bad about not sitting as much.

With support from some dharma friends I allowed myself to look at my sitting practice anew. In December I took an intentional vacation from sitting practice with the hope that desire to sit will come up. Hoping that I will miss practice. A few weeks into that vacation and except from a few pangs of wanting to sit, I felt mostly the same. At some point (around the beginning of the new year) I decided that my vacation is over and it’s time to sit again. While sitting feels good (calming, pleasant, etc) in the midst of practice, it is still difficult to get myself to sit (feels like a chore).

The element of “should” is still strong within me. So is the reaction that comes up to that: “I don’t wanna!”

It’s a relief when there’s an opportunity to sit through external circumstance like a group sit or sitting at the beginning of class. This brings me to think that there is a deep desire to do the sitting practice. But I’m finding it hard to locate or harness that desire.

Through talking a bit with my therapist I’ve started to notice that the practice is still present as I go through my day. I’m paying attention, I’m being mindful, I see the 3 characteristics in experience as I go through the day and I also notice my patterns and habits. Often times I still get consumed by experience, I get taken for a ride by those same patterns but often there’s attention, there is mindfulness. I’m also starting to see elements of practice in more of what I do. Writing is a practice, reading is a practice, walking, listening, not to mention the work I do with my therapist.

After reading John Welwood (Toward a Psychology of Awakening, ch. 14ish) discuss differences between cultures, different needs for practice to answer and different types of practice I’m feeling better about including more of what I do as as practice. I am especially more comfortable about including my personal psychological work as practice and I’m starting to see the value in that work beyond just treating symptoms like depression or social anxiety.

I’m also starting to see the value of having the right (mental) container in any work that I do. There is an inkling of an idea about the importance of a containing myth in life and more specifically in spiritual practice and this could be the edge of such a container. But more on that later as it becomes more clear.