This morning as I sat for my customary meditation time, I had one of those experiences where my mind wandered off...many times. Not that that's so unusal, but noticing my thoughts today was...Well, not so much the noticing part, but noticing how I was thinking.
My thoughts today were sort of interestingly different. First I was thinking about an aquaintance of mine who just had a baby a month and a half ago. The baby's father relapsed (he had - supposedly - been sober for awhile) just before the baby was born. Anyway, the gist is, I was thinking about this friend of mine has been up and down a similar road before, and here she was again...
And I caught myself and labeled it "thinking," and went back to my breath.
Then I thought about how I use thoughts like the one above as a distraction from self. If shamatha is about becoming better aquainted with self, then I am spending time trying to deflect from myself by focusing on "other."
But then I labeled that thought thinking and returned to my breath. Mindful of the inhale and following it all the way out through the exhale.
Then, I started thinking about my students, and a note I received from The Universe (I get these daily in my email, here it is...);
*Whenever conferring with another, Nicky, either face to face or across the miles, whether a human being, departed spirit, or sentient tree, always speak to the highest within them.
Makes such a difference.
And I started thinking about how sometimes I don't "speak to the highest within them," and then...
I labeled that "thinking" and came back to my breath.
And on and on it went.
Then I had the thought that when I think those kind of thoughts I justify them as "okay" or "better thoughts to have" because I am thinking about my students, and how I can be of best use. And then I thought, but I am not being of "best use" because my practice is to empty my mind...to let thoughts roll in and roll out, not to massage them and engage with them.
And then I labeled THAT "thinking" and then my alarm went off to end my meditation session.
Today I felt fuzzy and grumpy. And I couldn't tell if it was because of my practice this morning, if my mind and body were still worn out from the 1/2 marathon on Sunday, if it was the rainy, gray weather, a combination of all of them, or "just one of those days." Whatever it was, it was. But I am aware of it. I'm noticing it. Sometimes I have to let that be enough.