Feeling a bit brighter today. Have got back into studying again. I got a good result for my latest assignment (-: which has encouraged me to persevere with what has been a difficult subject to learn.
My energy has been fluctuating a fair bit. Sometimes there is the prison of sloth and fatigue, and other times the bossy vibe of anxiety. My practice edge just now is a lot about learning how to tune that energy. Find a middle way. So I don't overdo things, take it all too seriously and burn out; but also don't get lazy, complacent, and trapped in stagnation.
All this fine energy tuning balanced with the intention to be kind to myself and those around me. To come from the heart, with peaceful intentions and goodwill for other beings. And also take rest and time out for myself when I need it, and not feel guilty for this. Love and goodwill doesn't make me a doormat. Boundaries and self-care are important.
Mastering thought is challenging, but I am making some progress.
Centering with body awareness, the breath, and a sense of space can help chill out the mind.
It can feel good to be free of words. I find that most of the stuff I was worrying about is no longer a concern when language disappears. There is more to life than words. Deeper things to find, things that words can't contain.
But words are also useful. So it is good to know how to switch the thinking back on when I need it. As I still have to function in the world, socialise, and have the capacity for wise reflection.
It is not easy to train the mind.
Another meaning of equanimity is balance.
There are five psychic irritants, these are: greed, ill-will, sloth, agitation, and doubt. Also known as the five hindrances.
When I become aware of their presence in the mind, I find labeling can be helpful for creating some space between me and them. The label also teaches the mind to get quicker at spotting the hindrance when it arises.
To remove the hindrance I centre with something else. Usually this is an open awareness of the body and the breath, or with whatever activity I am doing at the time, and focus on this instead of the hindrance.
If thoughts are tiring, invasive, disturbing, or difficult to work with I will not pay attention to them at all and practice noble silence in my head. Move the centre of attention away from thoughts and to the breath, body and space.
But sometimes words are useful and I can talk myself into a better state of mind, change the way I think about experience, which changes my perception of things.
It depends on what feels right at the time. Sometimes talking myself into a better state of mind is helpful, other times silent awareness and stillness is needed.
Sometines there are unwholesome thoughts at the edge of awareness. And I find I can let them be there without getting absorbed in them or disturbed by them. Eventually they fade away. This can bring a feeling of freedom, to not be constantly caught up in the head.
I try to encourage and engage with wholesome thoughts to make those stronger. But will disengage from even these when I am tired.
A meditation object such as the breath helps to calm and centre the mind, and gives it something safe to anchor with. Sustained attention to a meditation object gathers the mind together into a convergence, unifies and steadies it, which secludes it from the psychic irritants. This seclusion from the five hindrances brings a feeling of relief and happiness to the mind. Which can continue for some time even after meditation.
There are times though where it can take a while for the mind to settle and drop into serenity. The hindrances can be strong. It takes endurance and non-reactivity then to patiently sit still, anchored in the body, until the senses finally settle down and the mind drops into peace. Sometimes it can take lengthy meditation sessions to get there. I think though in time and with practise, the mind will settle faster and less endurance will be needed.
It can be interesting (when mindful) to notice the way I breathe whilst in different states of mind. Notice the connection between mind and body. Observe this, then see if I can breathe in ways that calm the body, and clear the psychic irritants from the mind. Nothing complicated or fancy, just breathing in a way that feels good. This can help change the state of mind to something more wholesome.