Thursday, July 19, 2007
STRESS....! and Meditation
I have a major writing assignment to complete. I have an interview scheduled this afternoon with an artist for my Art of Outrage series on Artscene Visual Radio. We have a contractor coming over this morning to talk about some work that we need done on the house. I need to renew prescriptions, pick up pills. And the cleaning! We leave tomorrow at noon to spend the weekend at our beach house (poor us...!) And Tuesday of next week we leave for ten days in Canada. What to pack? What bags to take? What instructions to leave for Cardozo, who will be staying at our house?
Have we thought of EVERYTHING?
And of course, there's always the next entry in The Buddha Diaries... Especially now that the readership is expanding, both geographically and in numbers, there seems to be a kind of near-obsessive obligation to keep punching it in every day, as though anyone would miss me! Performance anxiety! (The truth is, I would miss the practice more than anyone would miss me.)
It all amounts to.... S.T.R.E.S.S.S.S.S!!! I don't know about you, but I feel it in the gut. A kind of continual seething, a perpetual sense of something left undone without being able to focus quite exactly on what it is. You know what I mean? That, and the familiar tightening in the neck and shoulders, a hunching-up that adds to the general feeling of discomfort, of not-well being, of dis-ease. And the ANGER that results.
I wish that my meditation skills were up to so formidable a task, but I'm aware that I still have a long way to go. Sure it helps. That half-hour, forty minute sit in the morning serves me well, I'm sure, throughout the day. And I know enough, when I think about it, to stop for long enough to recover consciousness, and breathe... and I feel the benefit, at least a momentary relief.
You'd like to think, wouldn't you, that ten years of practice would have resulted in release from the stress that every one of us feels? But that's perhaps a little like expecting earnest practising Christians to have learned not to sin. We're all human, after all.
So what I'd like to know is this: are others more successful in reducing stress with daily meditation than am I? What's your experience? What is your skill level, in this regard? Do you have to practice longer--or more often--for the desired result? Or am I just, as I suspect, a human being like the rest of us?