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Sometimes I feel alive, enthusiastic, full of excitement and wonder. Other times I am like a flat battery that can't seem to hold its charge or see much hope in anything. Other times there's an odd mix of brain chemistry that is so horrible I can't put it into words.
It is helpful for me to remember the brain is the body. It is dependent on conditions largely outside my control, meaning it will change. It won't always function in the way I wish it would, and eventually it will cease when the conditions it depends on cease.
That is the way of things with dependent origination. Conditioned phenomena is impermanent. It isn't gloomy to think this way. It can be a helpful tool to bring some equanimity to the mind. It helps me let go of the clinging and aversion towards things, and to stop taking it personally. Which decreases the suffering somewhat.
Sometimes difficult things happen that are outside our control. And sometimes it’s our own fault, we behave in unskilful ways and reap the kamma for it. Whatever it is, we then go and add more suffering to the situation with the longing, aversion, and taking it personally. This is the mental pain we add to physical and worldly difficulties. This is what makes us suffer.
I remember one night I got stranded on the mainland after missing the last boat back to the island. I had just completed a lengthy 10-hour journey coming back from my dad’s funeral. And I arrived at the ferry terminal late due to a delay with the coach. I felt exhausted and a bit unwell. There was nowhere to stay, and a long wait till the next ferry in the morning. So I went to sit on the beach, tried to roll a joint to make myself feel better. And I'd almost finished rolling it, when there was a huge gust of wind that blew it all away, and then it started raining. I felt like the person off the Hamlet advert, but without the cigar.
Then the day of the funeral all came back to me, and I burst into tears. It all just gushed out. I felt so lonely.
Then I saw my dad’s face in the sea. And I said I was sorry for not getting chance to speak to him before he died. I wished him well and told him he was loved.
Then the wind and rain became unbearable, so I went to find some shelter. I spent the rest of the night alternating between walking, standing, and sitting meditation.
I went through so many mood swings in that one night. Like the mind was changing, morphing into all sorts of different shapes and patterns. I was even seeing things that weren't there. It was challenging.
Through it all I tried to remain still and not get disturbed by the changing psychic weather. I just kept bringing my attention back to the breath and body to calm and centre the mind. Not engaging with anything else. Meditation felt like a refuge. There were strange eerie sounds at times like banshees wailing. (They turned out to be seabirds, the tunnel making their calls echo in ghostly ways).
Eventually after many hours of this, the mind converged into a oneness, and it all disappeared. The psychic weather passed. Leaving behind a stillness and beautiful emptiness that I can't put into words.
I was greeted at sunrise by a friendly pigeon watching me intently with smiley eyes. Then it vocalised a set of patterns, and some moments later another pigeon responded in the distance with a different set of vocal patterns.
The pigeon flew away.
The wind and rain outside had stopped. It also dependent on conditions.
I went to get a coffee and my card was declined by the reader. I laughed, and the cashier laughed as well. She said that happens to her all the time, and that she keeps a supply of cash with her just in case.
Luckily, I had a few coins on me and managed to buy the coffee.
Pacing back and forth
I am tired but mindful.
Waves of tears crash.
Into the ocean wind.
I leave the beach to find shelter.
Watch each presently arisen state
flow and fade away.
Mind is like the ocean.
A morphing psychic energy,
From one thing to the next,
Flickering this way and that
Becoming different shapes and patterns.
Like the wind.
Its involuntary movements.
I sit still.
In the temple of the body.
In the solidity of the earth.
Attentive to the air element.
The cool touch of it on the skin.
Centre with the breath energy,
The whole body and mind.
Earth and air become one.
And in a moment of bliss.
The mind converges.
All goes into sync.
Becomes unified, and still.
Tuned into Nothing.
And I leave the world behind,
A pigeon watches me with interest
Perched above in the Victorian architecture.
Night becomes dawn
And it coos with delight.
The unnerving banshee shrieks in the tunnel
Turn out to be seabirds.
A deep sea mining operation drills a little too deep...
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Sometimes when meditating and one becomes still enough, a nimitta will appear. Nimitta is a Pali word that means: sign. A sign you are getting into a deeper state of concentration/samhadi and close to absorption. The nimitta is a mind generated phenomena, and varies in appearance and behaviour depending on what is being used for a meditation object . It can involve any of the senses, but for me mostly appears as a visual or tactile sensation. Once the nimitta is clear and strong enough it can then be used as a meditation object itself, which can then take one into even deeper states of stillness. There is often an otherworldly feeling that accompanies a nimitta and they can be very weird but in a good way, and certainly nothing to be afraid of. These deeper states of stillness feel very freeing and healing and one can encounter what is known as original mind which is beautiful beyond description.
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