Between Sanity and Insanity

In those days, the strain of long hours of meditation – “hard practice,” as Sifu Dr. Kim called it – began to take a toll on my psyche. In the early days of meditation, I simply was learning how to meditate, was simply learning the breathing, the play of thought and feeling, and the physical demands of sitting cross legged, zazen style. All of this was new to me, so I was not as conscious of the stirrings of unconscious experience on a much deeper level.

As time went on and I was not so preoccupied with the ‘how to’s’ of meditation, like sightings of sea creatures below the surface, but too deep to see clearly, feelings of a deep unconscious origin began to rise to the surface of my heart. Like the feelings of old, and reminiscent of my experience of overwhelming anxiety while walking in the woods across the street from the house on Naomee Crescent, waves of disquiet stirred the waters of my everyday experience; a creeping fear began to settle in my soul. While I was meditating, it was held in abeyance, but in my waking hours, and, especially as our group meditation time approached on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, dark feelings of anxiety rose up in my heart, sometimes locating themselves in a tightness across my upper chest, and I would begin wishing for the classes to be canceled. On one particular evening, having done the Mountain Lakes and Waterfalls Tour that day – a 12 hour long tour of particular beauty and some very deft negotiating of the coach, backing up a switchback in the Yoho Valley – I called Sifu and told him I was too tired to come to meditation.  “No problem, Do Chun,” he said in his strong Korean accent, “you stay home and rest.”  I didn’t know if I believed him, as if he was playing Sifu games with me. I agonized that I had, somehow, made the wrong decision to take the night off.

Categories Book Excerpt, Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on August 28, 2019

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