Just Sitting


Practice shows up as provocation – to my mind and to my heart – I swing like a pendulum from clarity, that is crystal, bright, filled with HOPE, to anxiety, fogginess and RESISTANCE.

I feel broken by this resistance. But I go on, cause beneath me is a blanket and above me is a blanket, and both of them cuddle me and give me this message: TRUST. And so, one step, heavy, draggy, after the other – I walk on this path.

But then, out of nowhere, my inner pendulum swings, and I fly on the wings of a happy dragon, high up above the clouds, where my sight is as sharp as that of an eagle, and the sheer joy of living, being, breathing – are overwhelming. In these moments I reach out, talk to people, take care of business.  I put out the image of my being as supreme joy. I actually feel it, but I also know about the pendulum. I don’t share about that. I go home, and wait for it to swing the other way, alone.

Is this honest? Yeah, it is. I feel that it is, not because I choose to engage or not engage, according to my up or downswings, but that my choices come from an aware place. And that I have enough compassion towards myself to make these choices without guilt, or fear. When I am on the downswing – I am on the downswing – and there is no reason for me to be otherwise. Nor share it with anyone.

I am understanding acceptance in a new way lately. It is, in its own way, complete within itself. Acceptance of small, or baby steps.  Acceptance of bad moods.  Acceptance of knowing that Jay’s  (my business partner) sister was just diagnosed with ALS. And that my good friend just died of it. Acceptance that ALS is indeed a horrible disease, and that I will once more have to live as a witness to it.

As I was hanging my laundry outside, a gust of wind moved the wires and my fingers slid over an old wooden laundry clip, leaving a nasty long splinter right in my index finger. I could see its tip, sticking right out. It looked long, and went deep. As carefully as I could I pulled at the sticking-out part, – and it broke off. Aha, I thought.

I got a needle, burned its tip, sterilized it, and tried to get the deeper part of the splinter out. The blood prevented me from seeing clearly, and it was beginning to hurt more and more. I called Jay and told him I was coming to his place, for him to help me.  He tried, digging deeper with the needle, using tweezers, to no avail. We decided that it is best we leave it alone and LET IT FESTER, at which point, it will be easier to get it out.

Instead of festering – the skin healed over it, with the sliver of wood underneath.

Each time I feel the bump, each time I avoid using the finger in a usual way – I am reminded that underneath the perfectly healed skin, sits a little sliver. A little devil. A little part that can be scared, anxious, unjust. I take it as a reminder to be honest. It holds me accountable for my thoughts when I want to pass on blame for my own insecurity. Or an excuse for why I did not complete my work. Or, that I was just about to embellish my story to make it sound better than it is. It reminds me not to speak, when it is better not to speak. This, in itself, is a major awareness for me, as speech seems to be very liquid in my mouth, and spills out with no effort what-so-ever. I am also a good story teller. The lure to speak, to tell stories, to share teachings that move me, whether I am asked to do so or not – is a big one.

So, as I swing between excitement and resistance around practicing “just sitting”.  I look forward and also dread this part of my morning. And the practice of awareness, honesty, ahimsa and mindful speech remains with me all day, because my finger is with me all day. The gift of the splinter! – that leads to the gift of practice.

The energy of my joyfulness is changing. It is less excitable, I seek it less. I don’t need anything in particular to happen to allow me to feel joyful.

Then , when I don’t feel joyful, I recognize myself in that moment, with clarity and immediate acceptance.  Clearly on a downswing, or clearly flat, or tired, or de-energized. I watch these moments without much engagement and minutes later  – I am aware of the upswing, of the crystal clear sparkly feeling that rests at my feet like a magic carpet. I see myself from behind, from under, from inside. And, even though I do not aim to do this – I see others this same way: from behind, from inside, from under. I see what their words rest on, not what they are saying in words. I see the suffering that I and they create with our own thinking. I am able to let go of a lot of it, the moment I see it. But not everyone can. And so, instead of helping them – I see them.  Just like that. I see them. And touch my sliver in my finger.

I accept my resistance around “just sitting”. I am not meditating yet, just sitting. I am willing to continue to do this, even as I need to bring myself back to it, every minute. And if I fail to stay upright, as it happened already, and fell forward on my face, thankfully, in bed, into the soft blankets and pillows, I stay in that position, aware of myself in that crystal clarity. And like a plant that is given water, my body begins to right itself back up into sitting, craving to hear my alarm indicating the end of the 30 minutes, and joyous to hear it while I am still sitting. The practice of this – whatever it is I am doing – supports me for the rest of the day. I did it! Dreading the next morning, and knowing that I will do it again. And then being washed over with this crystal clarity, with peace.

The rest does not matter. What is the rest? The rest..?


Alex Bovkis