Our format for the Thursday and Friday group meditations is choosing a theme for the evening. This Thursday Barry will lead us in looking more deeply at things that annoy us and in a new way of walking meditation. Doug will lead on Friday, examining the practice of shamatha (stopping). After the third meditation, Barry and Doug will share how these teachings infuence their practice. Then the other members of the group will be invited to share whatever arises in their heart consciousness.
And we form a sharing the merit circle at the end of our time together. It is a time to recognize our compassionate presence to each other, our family and friends, especially those in need, and to the earth.
This week Barry will read from the book Wild Chickens & Petty Tyrants, by Arnie Kozak. The selection is #76, and is entitled “Petty Tyrants.” We will hear a dialogue proposing that those “things” that annoy us – people or events – are really doing us a favor by showing us the ego-bruising truth: we, as individuals, are not the most important things in the Universe!
Also, a slight variation in the walking meditation will be explored. Our usual circular walk will be exchanged this week for a more individualized, personal experience: straight-line walking. Walking in straight lines has a long tradition, and is described below. Feel free to try it at home.
Walking meditation is a simple practice. You choose a straight path-indoors or outdoors-roughly fifteen or twenty steps long. You walk from one end of the path to the other, turn around, and walk back. You continue in this fashion, walking back and forth, focusing your attention on your feet. Your posture is upright, alert, and relaxed. You can hold your hands at your sides, or clasped in front or behind. Keep your eyes open, cast down, and slightly ahead. You can experiment with your pace, perhaps walking quite slowly or at a more regular speed, in an effort to find the pace at which you’re most present. As you walk, direct your attention to the sensations in the feet, to the bare experience of walking. Try to feel one step at time. Be fully, wholeheartedly aware of the physical sensations involved in taking each step. Feel your foot as it lifts, moves through the air, places down against the ground. In particular, pay attention to the touching down of the foot, the sensations of contact, and pressure. Remember that you’re feeling each step, you’re not thinking about the foot, or visualizing it.
- Peter Doobinin, “Five Practices to Change Your Mind”