Thursday, March 02, 2006

Zhine in Action

One major area of improvement for me is attentiveness outside of meditative sessions. In terms of zhine (shamatha) meditation, I seem to be at the second of the nine mental abidings identified by the Lord Maitreya, in which you are able to lengthen your meditation on the object of observation. I seem to be teetering on the third, as I can usually bring my mind back to the object of observation. In other words, after my mind has wandered, a "jolt" of awareness tells me that I've lost the object, and I'm able to bring my mind back to my breath.

I feel like I fair much worse off of the cushion, however. I tend to drop tasks right in the middle of them, and then only realize minutes later that I left something unfinished. I can be making coffee, get distracted by email - then only realize a minute later that there are no aromas of caffeinated goodness filling the air.

Needless to say, this has a huge practical downside. I've always struggled with focus problems in my work. I tend to bounce like a ping-pong ball stuffed with jumping beans from one task to the next, leaving a string of unfinished projects in my wake. I have a better handle on this now than I have for the past 10 years of my career, but I can't lie to myself and say I'm anywhere close to perfect yet.

How do I end this suffering? The only way I can see is to give my daily life the same attentiveness and hard work I give to zhine.

And given that I just left this post for 10 minutes to go dick around in another Firefox tab, I do mean HARD work.

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