During this stage of our practice, we notice that we are always near the breath.
We immediately notice the wandering, and also notice that we never wander off of the path. The breath stays close to the surface of all that we do. Our absorption and awareness are finding solidity.
During the opening process of our attempts at meditation, the breath was fickle—almost uncatchable—we were chased and grabbed, and swept away by every distraction. During close placement, we become secure in our ability to stay focused, to walk across the tree bridge without falling into the river. We tend to go right into the process as soon as we sit and we are able to remain there for however long we so choose.
Our distractions now tip toe between laxity and elation. We know we can sit at any time and at any place and remain focused. We hover now between excitement of this process, thinking we are verging on a breath through.
We are happy, open, focused, is this the crack leading to enlightenment? And we also face laxity. We already know the result. We’ve fought hard to reach this stage, and now, the fight is over. We know our stability is there.
Now, meh, we don’t want to.
“If there’s empty spaces in your heart, they’ll make you think it’s wrong, like having an empty space means you can never be strong. But I’ve learnt that all these spaces, means there’s room enough to grow, and all the people that once filled them, were always meant to go.” ~ Ernest Hemmingway
It is like beginning all over again. It won’t be uncommon to sit, almost palpably shaking back and forth, and that thought, just on the horizon, “I know I am on the verge, i can feel it.”
No, you’re not.
These two stages are both, considering, good problems to have…in a way.
Our confidence is rooted. We are rooted, Meditation is easy, stable, and the distractions of everyday are no longer distractions. They are simply items that exist and no longer tug. Our confidence is now the distraction.
We are not at enlightenment.
We are just stable, aware, and at times—bored. Now we learn to let go of these stages. It is like beginning all over again. It won’t be uncommon to sit, almost palpably shaking back and forth, and that thought, just on the horizon, “I know I am on the verge, i can feel it.”
No, you’re not.
We will also sit, almost irritated. Eyes rolling, grumbling, sighing, I don’t want to do this today. I’m over it. This is boring. Yes, it is. Now, it’s time to dig deeper, to let go of both feelings, both distractions.
Both of these experiences are important as they signal transformation, yet they are both irrelevant.
Based on my own experience, I would encourage you to ignore the feeling of verging and embrace instead, the feeling of boredom.
Our boredom of the process is where the meat of the experience lies. We will continue from here, or we will walk away. If we become wrapped up in the feeling of verging on breaththrough, we have stopped being open to learning. We will offer false hopes to others, and close ourselves off to continuation.
If we embrace the boredom, we are open to the process still. We will continue regardless and we will begin to open once again.
During this stage, embrace your boredom. Note each unwillingness, each sense of indifference and be okay with it, but sit anyway. Make the boredom the process. Find comfort in the boredom. When we are comfortable within the boredom, a world of unseen moments and processes begin to blossom…in time.
Just sit, just be bored, be okay with the boredom, and like day one, week one, breathe. We are here for each moment of connection. Each breath offers us continued acceptance of life.
Keep noting in your journals. Start noting the differences between week one and this week. Add your differences to the comments of week four and take a few moments to sit thinking about the differences. Why did these things change? Why did these things not change? Where am I feeling stuck?
Don’t forget, many before you have gone through this process and many after you, will as well. I have gone through this process and I know how frustrating and rewarding it can be.
Seek neither reward or indifference, but open connection to the moment.
Our boredom of the process is where the meat of the experience lies. We will continue from here, or we will walk away.