day 15

A welcome weekend. An inside sit. I’m in the back room with Stanley (a whippet), while Woody (another whippet) reclines, paws toward the ceiling, on the front room sofa. Meanwhile J potters. I like pottering – especially after zazen. Little jobs, bits and bobs, on my feet, tidying up – it’s a lovely way to carry the feeling of no-mind forward through the day. Zazen itself – quiet and still.

Discipline: 8/10.

day 13

A quiet 30-minute sit, totally derailed by mulling a work quandary (colleagues mispronouncing another colleague’s name.) Let’s self-charitably describe it as a self-imposed informal koan – albeit one studied very poorly. Not a failure – no judging mind. But something to learn from.

Discipline: 0/10.

day 12

A hot September, a restless house and a night light on sleep. So on my group Zazan call, my head probably dipped a few times more than it should. All the same, a very tranquil sit, with the same group benefits experienced before: it’s as if you owe it to the group to not become distracted.

Discipline: 7/10.

Note: published the next day.

day 11

This time, early morning meditation – lying down. The lack of routine is not ideal, but it’s the first week of a new job so I’m giving myself a break. Meditating for 30 minutes every day is enough of a commitment in itself. So rather than lying awake in bed, why not use the time? Tiredness probably helped with focus, in an odd way. They do say on intensive sesshins, the tiredness that comes with night-time meditation can be beneficial. And it’s never bad to try out different approaches.

Discipline: 7/10.

day 10

An evening sit. Something a bit different: just sitting, cross-legged, relaxing, focusing on breathing. Not much counting. No pressure to do it properly. On a sofa, in a relatively quiet place, but not especially so. A way to squeeze sitting into a busy day. Beneficial all the same.

Discipline: 7/10.

day 9

An outdoor late-morning sit. A first: setting the timer and settling into position I immediately found stillness. Next step: maintaining it for 30 minutes. A bit of thinking about work, and then a wasp appeared. I’m quite good sitting through insect landings lately, but there was something about the pitch of this buzz that I didn’t love, so I looked and, sure enough – wasp. Would quite like to get a place where wasps don’t faze me either, but hey ho, we’re heading into autumn and winter now so no big deal. And besides, my focus should be on the doing, not the outcome.

Discipline: 5/10.