Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Having no goals

Writing something about meditation might be a little silly when I haven't made time to seriously and regularly meditate in - erm, ever. (If by regularly you mean at the same time weekly for two or more weeks, then no, I haven't meditated regularly.)

Yet I still find benefit in the practice, as imperfect as my practice is. (I cringe at even calling it practice, but there we are.)

And I find so much to like about this quotation:
If we have ambitions—even if our aim is enlightenment—then there is no meditation, because we are thinking about it, craving it, fantasizing, imagining things. That is not meditation. This is why an important characteristic of shamatha meditation is to let go of any goal and simply sit for the sake of sitting. We breathe in and out, and we just watch that. Nothing else.” ~ Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, "Do Nothing"
We live in such a goal-oriented world, it almost doesn't make sense to talk about the benefit of doing anything without a goal. And yet, when I hear the suggestion to sit with no goal at all, I sense a wonderful freedom.

It reminds me of how parenting sometimes feels-- I let everything else go and tell myself that there is nothing more important than listening to this small person in front of me. I first learned that feeling when I nursed my babies. I distinctly remember that perfectly delicious "zoned in" feeling-- I could tune out the world, tune in my baby and feel absolutely satisfied in that moment. Oxytocin is powerful; it was teaching me that feeding the baby was all I had to do while I was doing it.

Nursing baby at 3 weeks doing an unprompted peace sign. 
This was a powerful taste of the freedom of being without striving. I was not trying to feed the baby and do three other things. I was not trying to be A+ #1 at feeding the baby. I was just feeding her and we were both complete. My best friend and I talk about this paradox, how we sometimes do our best work when we're not aiming to achieve anything at all.

But this is a freedom of the mind which, I have to remind myself, doesn't necessarily have to lead to a great insight that propels my career or family or fitness goals forward. Sitting simply for the sake of sitting is a powerful discipline and something I deeply enjoy. Before heading back to work to complete something in my goal-oriented world.