Meditation requires the temporary abandonment of impatience, which can be quite difficult. But is it really necessary to abandon impatience? These comments, posted by someone having a difficult time with impatience when meditating, were extracted from a thread on Reddit, and they merit consideration:

QUESTION:  I do a basic meditation where my breath is my focus. I watch my thoughts, feelings, and senses, observing them, and always coming back to the breath….But I’m having a hard time because I’m feeling impatient. I’ll open my eyes and glance at the timer I have set and I just can’t seem to want to sit longer than 10 minutes. I’d like to go further. Does anyone have any advice for dealing with feeling impatient during their session?

RESPONSE 1: Try observing your feelings of not wanting to sit any longer same way as you observe all your other feelings. Accept all feelings but do not react. Just observe. Welcome all feelings but don’t engage with them. Just let them be. Let them come and go as they want.

RESPONSE 2: It’s good. You recognize your impatience. This is the core of the work. When you get the fortitude to sit longer, even with impatience gnawing away at you, this is a break through. This is the core of the practice. As long as you do sessions of sitting observation, this will happen. Every time you persist through the rancor of the impatient mind, your perseverance will be rewarded. It accumulated over time. So just sit a little each day and see impatience and be with it, and change will come.

Considering these issues suggests that meditation is, indeed, a practice. It is a practice unique to each person. Yet its uniqueness does not preclude borrowing ideas from other “practitioners” whose experience might be beneficial to one’s own.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.” The idea that one can, through meditation, achieve a “deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind” is exceptionally appealing, especially to someone who feels almost permanently tense and whose thoughts produce an almost perpetual sense of emotional turbulence.

It occurs to me that meditation has the potential for being most beneficial to people who need it the most, yet those people are apt to find the practice quite difficult. And some of them may be apt to reject the basic premise of the practice because their tension is so engrained in them. Meditation is entirely voluntary; only when one is willing to explore the possibility that it can, indeed, help unwind the tightly-wound springs that produce stress does its potential have a chance of being achieved. A willingness, though, must transform into a commitment if meditation is to be successful. That sounds difficult, though; meditation should relieve stress, not add to it. Like life itself, meditation is both simple and complex. Its many styles and forms seem labyrinthine, but that intricacy may be precisely where the power of meditation rests. Simplicity first, though. I think.


After darkness feel last night, we paused our latest binge (now on season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and drove to the Coronado Center parking lot on the edge of Lake Coronado. We were among a few others who drove to that spot, got out of their cars, and stared in awe at the super blue moon. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have brought a pair of binoculars, so we could have seen it with even more clarity. But even without binoculars, the experience was beautiful. The next opportunity to see that rarity will occur August 21, 2032, nine years from now. I am glad we saw this one. And I hope to see the next. In a fit of wild optimism, I added that event to my Google calendar. When I added that one-time event, I noticed that the calendar for that week also includes some recurring events that were added to individual calendars (which we share) some time ago: My Thursday church men’s group breakfast at Debra’s restaurant, mi novia’s Monday Mah Jongg at the church, and a flurry of exercise classes that my SIL attends. We’re all wild optimists.


A dream I had last night featured my late sister and my oldest brother and his wife. The dream mixed elements of my first association management job with my “current” employment, as well as pieces that somehow involved a member of my church. The location was, I think, my parents’ house, the one destroyed by Hurricane Celia on August 3, 1970. My employment had a connection with that first job: a surface preparation handbook, which in my dream I thought was published by the Steel Structures Painting Council. While my sister was out for a walk, I asked my brother and his wife to help me find a copy of the book. I then asked the church member, who in my dream I thought was a temporary employee from an employment agency, to help me find the book. If only I could find that book, I could use it in some way in a course I was planning to offer. Utter chaos, that dream, with unconnected threads/shreds of various parts of my life woven together into an irrational fabric.


Yesterday’s Costco run was transformative. That is, expensive. A leg of lamb, a brisket, several bottles of wine, a couple of bottles of gin, and various other wants and needs combined to make the shopping trip among the most financially demanding in my memory. But it yielded such treasures! I spent part of yesterday afternoon reading recipes for crying leg of lamb. And I refreshed my memory about my favorite ways to prepare brisket for smoking. I do not live to eat, but I can get great pleasure from preparing meals (sometimes) and from consuming foods that bring joy to my palate. I feel so incredibly fortunate we are able to occasionally indulge ourselves in this way. That gratitude is coupled with concern for others who cannot. Guilt creeps in. I have been told I have issues with guilt (in other areas of my emotional life); and I do. It is difficult to differentiate between legitimate guilt and undeserved attacks on oneself. Holy shit! How did a wonderful spending spree so savagely turn on me?!


Time to prepare for the day. Comb my teeth, brush my hair, take off the morning leisure-wear, don attire more suitable for public display, and otherwise get ready to meet people outside the tiny but fabulous sphere in my house.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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