Here are my notes related to building mental discipline, starting at the beginning of May 2011. I’ll start with my meditation journal and then talk about mental discipline overall.
As noted in my preamble post I’m not new to meditation, but the DP work has encouraged me to try some new things. To begin with, as you know I’ve been working on trying to do a daily morning devotional which has included a short grounding and centering as well as a short meditation on the blessings of Cerridwen. This has been challenging since my mornings are typically rushed and my brain is trying to focus on just getting me out the door on time without forgetting my lunch, keys, work pass, or pants. I’ve been successful in doing the devotional probably 3 or 4 days a week on average, and am getting a bit better each time at the meditation portion. I find that it really helps me set a good mindset for the day which is always appreciated.
With the weather turning nice, I have also started trying to get out to a nearby park at lunch to sit under a tree and do the Two Powers meditation. This, too, has proven challenging as it is a typically busy downtown park, filled with people and surrounded by roads. More often than not, park staff are also out with their internal combustion engine-driven tools; pruning, mowing, cutting, chipping, or blowing. So.. challenging yes, but challenging is good.
And speaking of the Two Powers, I had possibly my best experience with it so far doing a solitary blessing ritual outdoors in mid-May. At the initiation of the ritual I lit the fire and then circled it three times while doing some drumming, and then stopped and went into the meditation. It had been cloudy all day, but then the sun came out and while in the meditation I became acutely aware of the wind around me, then sun shining down on me, and the sound of birds all around me. At that moment, I had just a glimmer of what it might be like to be a tree; feeling the wind through one’s branches, the sun on one’s leaves, and year after year the cycle of birds nesting in one’s arms. It was really quite moving and it took me a long time to leave that place and return to the work at hand.
On the topic of mental discipline as a whole I’ll just talk about one particular event. I applied for a new job a couple of months ago and had pretty much given up on it when I suddenly got a call in early May asking me to come in for an interview later that day. Having so little time to mentally prepare for it made me quite nervous and I don’t think I exactly aced the interview. I just wasn’t as sharp as I wished I had been. In an interview the trick is to ascertain as quickly as possible what traits and skills they are looking for, and to shape your answers to every question to frame yourself as an expert in those skills. However, I flubbed that, not picking up on what he was looking for early enough. So, one of the things that I am aiming for as part of my mental discipline training is grace under pressure. I’ll let you know how that works out for me.