lauren is leaving in a few days… which could easily bring me out of focus, and does throughout the day. as many say though, these sources of potential pain also becomes the sources of the most potential growth, as we can see the sources of our pain coming together. i am better than i have been at seeing these sources early, and trying to catch them before they spiral, unconsciously, out of their normal control loops.
very clearly exercise prepares the body for meditation – i went on a 10 mile bike ride with lauren before meditating, and my body has not been this comfortable for 30 minutes in recent memory.
i caught myself thinking about someone else during my breath. then trying to trace it back. it seemed selfless enough, to be thinking about the welfare of someone else.. but as soon as i could trace it back 20 seconds into the past, i realized the thought started with ‘what am i doing later today?’ -> ‘i need to do something that requires something i don’t have’ -> ‘this other person has it’… and then i was onto the other person. these thoughts, in their hidden way, seem to always start spiraling from some unsettledness, some anxiety, however slight.
tried another technique today. within a half hour, it is very easy for me to get completely lost in though for several minutes, without realizing what has happened and catching it late. something i had done long ago but not recently, thinking it might be bad, was count inhalation and exhalation seconds- 10 in, 20 out, resulting in about two slow deep breaths per minute.
counting every second results in a tradeoff – it’s harder to allow the ‘moment’ to last for more than 1 second. but it’s also much easier, by providing a sub-pattern to the breath, to stay focused. i was able to keep focus on counting the entire 30 minutes, which never happens without me losing breath focus, if i’m only focusing ‘in general’ instead of subdividing.
eventually i traded off – i would count seconds during one or two breaths, and then take one or two uncounted breaths, knowing it wasn’t some indefinite amount of time to hold focus. it seemed a useful construct, oscillating between total local focus, and looser global focus. by the end of the half hour i was in a clear, beautiful state of mind, and opening my eyes revealed a crispness in the white room surrounding me.