Saturday, May 19, 2018


I exaggerate, of course. But it was a weird experience, this morning. I set my Insight Timer for a 30-minute sit and started to pay attention to the breath. That's when things started to go awry. I've been having trouble sleeping for a few weeks now, waking up very early because, while I'm inhaling okay, at a certain moment there comes an almost total blockage of the exhale, startling me awake. This morning I woke with the realization that it's the left nostril that is causing the problem, due to a condition I have known about for many years but which has never troubled me before: a deviated septum.

Odd, no?

So I guess I brought that insight with me to my sit. First off,  the breath refused to settle down into its usual rhythm, and I found it impossible to simply organize it into a stable pattern. That led to a shivery, out-of-my-skin feeling that pervaded my whole body; and consequently to a restlessness and and awareness of itchy places everywhere that demanded to be scratched. After twenty minutes I was wondering when this sit was going to end, Was my Insight Timer failing me? I started watching the mental clock until I finally surrendered, opened my eyes and checked the little screen on my cell phone to find I still had two-and-a-half minutes to go. Closed my eyes for what seemed like another thirty minutes, then opened them again: another twenty-five seconds still to go! I watched them count down with inexorable slowness, one at a time, until the digital gong sounded.

Phew! What a relief, to get up and make a cup of tea. I've been at this game for more than twenty years. You'd think I could do better. So, well, anyway... it's always salutary to get a reminder that I'm still right at the beginning!

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