Writing From Home
With these writings, I highlight some of my own experiences as a household practitioner: a meditator navigating the challenges and opportunities of our modern world.
At the beginning of every practice session, I spend a few moments sitting quietly. I stop all obvious movement and orient my wandering attention in a single direction. I’m not too forceful with this. I don’t define that single direction too precisely. Nor do I demand too much fidelity in this regard. All of which means there’s a fair bit of drifting during this span.
It was a simple return. My daughter had a pair of socks she wanted to take back. As I was going to the mall anyway, I volunteered to do this. After taking care of my own errands, I searched out the appropriate clothing store, offered up the item and receipt, and watched as the amount was placed on my credit card. Like I said, a simple return.
I’ve struggled with this post. Three different drafts have been readied. There’s a sense of pushing in each of them. Too much knowing where the piece is going. Too much wanting to be something specific. As a result, not one of these feels quite right to me. Which is frustrating for any number of reasons.
I used to walk downtown a lot. Sometimes for an acupuncture appointment or work meeting. On other occasions, I’d run errands or go for a cinnamon bun at Bubby Rose’s. Whatever the reason, I used to make the thirty minute journey there and thirty minute journey back several times a month. The pandemic has changed this.
I’ve been reading A Wonderful Creation: How the LP Saved Our Lives. Looking into what author David Hepworth affirms to be the golden age of the long-playing record (1967 to 1982; from Sergeant Pepper to Thriller), the book considers how our relationship with music altered through this span and how this connection has shifted since.
I woke this morning and thought of meditation. My body was rigid with tension that had accumulated through the past several weeks, the last few months. I could feel worry grip beneath my shoulder blades, between my ribs, in the webbing of my fingers and toes. ‘Can’t wait to practice,’ I thought with anticipation, ‘and let all this dissolve.’
It took me a moment to understand what I was seeing. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary: four columns of shopping baskets, stacked and sanitized, waiting for use. At the same time, however, there was something different about this.
When Bruce Cockburn’s most recent album appeared in September of 2019, my initial response was disappointment. Crowing Ignites is a collection of instrumental pieces. While I do admire Cockburn’s musicality – he is, in my opinion, one of the most accomplished guitarists of my lifetime – this is not what draws me to him.
I started listening to a podcast recently. The Daily Poem, as the name suggests, offers poetry every weekday morning. Episodes begin with a recitation. This is followed by a short commentary from the show’s host, David Kern. A second reading then concludes each broadcast.
Since returning from another month in Colorado, I’ve done a fair bit of reading. One book that has held my attention through this span is ‘Birds Art Life’ by Kyo Maclear. Among several other things, this work acknowledges, embraces, and with appropriate discretion celebrates the lulls in our lives.
In 1999, Stephen Reid was given an eighteen year prison term. His crimes were robbery and unlawful confinement. Sometime prior to this, he became addicted to heroin and cocaine. At some point following his conviction and confinement, Susan Musgrave – Reid’s partner of many years – released Origami Dove.
A student emailed recently, pleased with how regular her home practice had become. While I imagine several factors played into this development, one was identified as key. A routine had emerged between her and a friend, someone who also wanted to make meditation part of her daily life.