One of my students turned in a 10-day journal, chronicling her first sustained attempt at meditation. It was one of their options for a 50-point feature project. This particular journal was penned by a Japanese girl of about 18 years old. She presents such an amusing, accurate and insightful account—with all her struggles and modest rewards delightfully narrated—that I am reproducing it here without edit, as some of the awkwardly translated phrases only add to its overall charm.
Sitting still for ten minutes was the toughest thing in meditation. After five minutes, my legs started to feel numb and my concentration faded away. Breathing is what humans do without even realizing, but I could not breathe well when I tried to focus on my breathing. Moreover, I felt difficulty to even hear the sound of my breath. Another thing I realized was that something that never bothers me could really bother me during the meditation. Sounds of people talking, noise of my neighbors, things in nature really tick me off during the meditation. The more I tried to focus, the more I became distracted. During the ten minutes of meditation, my hatred towards meditation grew and I even started to blame the existence of meditation itself. After the meditation, it made me realize how immature I am.
As I expected, today’s meditation was as tough as yesterday’s. During the meditation, I was wondering how I can improve my concentration during the meditation. I know that meditation helps to purify my foul mind, but only disturbing thoughts came up during the meditation. I just remembered what professor said, that people are rushing and rushing. I think this is a necessary practice in the life. To shorten the time makes more time that I can do other things. Therefore meditation gives me more relax and steady.
Still meditation is not enjoyable for me but I believed that I could find something through it. Today I meditated while listening to music from Youtube for meditation. I could relax and hold steady mind. I used to understand what meditation is, but it was so irritating to my existence on the first day. I read the text book to feel Buddha’s spirit more deeply. It said bodies and minds are strongly related. I feel like I understand the meaning of this. For example, we say “pain is from the mind,” in Japan. For example, if someone trod on my foot and the person was who I like, probably I would not mind and the pain would go away soon, but in the case of someone who I hate, I would feel pain longer than in the previous case and with hatred. Moreover, I might give the same back to the person. I felt that I have to practice meditation in order to control my devil spirit.
I don’t feel pain with sitting anymore, although sometimes I started thinking and can not focus on being empty and my mind moves around. 10 minutes passes more quickly than before. It may just be my imagination, but I feel I’m able to be kinder to others than I was. Because I can rethink how I am after meditation.
On the fifth day, my attitude towards meditation finally became positive from negative. I was willing to start to meditate to find out what kind of outcome I will be getting out of this session. Once I started to meditate, I realized how clear my mind was. To be honest, I was not thinking about anything during the meditation. I was not enjoying the moment nor hating the moment. I was neutral. When I opened up my eyes and checked how long I had been meditating, I found out that I was meditating for 20 minutes without any thoughts. My mind was so clear that I felt like my brains were washed out. My breathing was so natural and smooth that I could not even tell if I was really breathing. I was so happy with the effects of meditation that I finally started to look forward to the next mediation session.
I had a bad day at school and I felt like I didn’t want to do anything. I was chilling on the bed all day after school because fortunately I didn’t have any homework for tomorrow. Still, since I continue to meditate, I did so before I go to sleep. Then I came to realize that meditation gives me opportunities to face myself when I become deflated or have an anxiety. At times like that, I tend to escape from the matter and try to get them away from my mind; though I have learned the importance of facing my problems, not turning away from them. My feeling has become great, even though I was depressed before meditation.
Period of wax and wane of the moon.
Cycle of period.
Period of revolution of the moon.
Period of rotation of the sun.
28th is cycle of the time of the universe. After I meditated, I was just muddling about the universe, and I came up with these. If we live the life according to the rhythm of nature, physical and mental would be healthy more and more. Live along with universal providence. It is beautiful.
I did meditate on the eighth day. I felt great and refreshed. By listening to the sound and wind of nature, I realized I was part of the universe. Human beings are not the center of the universe. If everyone can realize that, confusion and worry would be diminished in the world because all human beings are connected by a big bond.
I assumed happiness was always felt when we achieve some difficult goal, though actually, it was not. Truthfully, happiness is always nearby; in addition, it costs nothing and is fuss-free. I was meditating for 30 minutes today. Meditation makes me comfortable, and I can see myself from the third person. If I can keep this sense, I would be able to act with making transgressions because I believe people make transgressions only when they can not see themselves. There is really a lot to learn about meditation.
Today is the final day for meditating for this assignment. Before I started the final session, I was thinking how far I’d come already. I could not even stand the idea of meditation on the first day, but I was already addicted to the idea of meditation on the tenth day. I was surprised at how clear my mind was before the last session started and how good I felt about my achievement. Finally, I started my last meditation. Everything was going well until I realized the strange noise my neighbor was making. At first, I tried to shut it off and concentrate again. Funny, I could not. After I failed to concentrate, I started to get mad at the noise because it is ruining my precious last meditation session. I was surprised at the fact that I got ticked off so easy again, just like the first day. I was satisfied with my mental growth just before this session started, but here I am acting like myself as I was on the first day. After I finished meditating, I was embarrassed and decided to be more humble. Another lesson taught by meditating. I have to be humble. A lesson is something we are taught by others. It is amazing how meditation can create a lesson out of myself. The lesson is coming from the deep part of my mind. I really think that is beautiful. I am fascinated with meditation now and I will practice meditation more and more in my life.