Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Sit, Facing The Wall

It’s pretty amazing what ten minutes of meditation can do for you as you move through a chaotic day.  I am at work, paused between meetings, and I took some time to go down to the more quiet of the two conference areas and sit comfortably, facing the wall, and breathe.

“Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who mediate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.”  The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

If you have never had any experience with this particular exercise, I have always found it to be a very powerful one. You just find a wall, bare, unadorned, with nothing to distract the eye, and sit facing the wall and breathe.  For me, it only takes a minute or two and I find myself residing in timeless stillness.  Since I tend to do this particular exercise at work, I will often set a timer to pull me out of that timeless state so I can head back over to the office and get back to work, almost always much calmer, much more serene then I was before.

Today, I turned to the wall about three hours into the day, as the chaos of my calendar was starting to get me wrapped up.  That would be the chaos of my completely self-imposed calendar, which bears only the value I place in it.  The Second Noble Truth tells us that the root of all suffering is desire.  At the root of my calendar based suffering resides the desire to maintain my habits, my internal schedule in the face of external demands.  I release the desire for a different calendar and I release the suffering associated with the calendar and I return to reside in stillness.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Most of our chaos here at work is born in our post go-live activities, as the various groups of field personnel struggle to adjust to the changes that were implemented around them. We didn’t do a good job with change management, but we never do.  Most folks don’t.  (See, there again is the desire for a different outcome).  The chaos today is caused by everyone trying to get something accomplished at the same time, resulting in chaotic demands on each other’s time.  

Hence my earlier meditation on the calendar - I have a meeting scheduled from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, but at the same time, I have two other events competing for the time slot.  I’ve already haad the experience this morning of having two meetings cancelled at zero hour because key participants were in other meetings and couldn’t make it, so, I am wondering if my 11:30 AM meeting is actually going to happen, or if it is going to get cancelled as well.
And then, I realize that the calendar is only what the calendar is.  I sit, facing the wall, I breath, and I return to inner stillness.

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