..continued. Planing for less time this time. Only 5 minutes. That's what I feel like I can do naturally, without sortof forcing myself to just sit there, and I'm not going to worry about clearing my mind just to clear my mind, I'm going to try to clear my mind and see what is in the way, and deal with that stuff.. in some sense.. sortof.. maybe.. not sure.. here goes..
ok, I got about 2 minutes in, and then stopped with an unexpected "worry". The thing is, when I start to meditate, trying to clear my mind, I often see beautiful images and scenes that I would like to capture somehow. This time I saw an image of a woman and a tiger looking out a window. I couldn't see what was outside the window, all I could see was the light falling on the figures within. The room around them was dark. The window was the sort of window one would imagine in the movie Alladin, namely, it was shaped with a point at the top, and the walls were very thick. I say a woman and a tiger, though I'm not sure if that's right (and it wasn't Jasmine and Rajah.. and it wasn't cartoon-ish). The dominant colors were orange and blue. There was fine detail in the figures (though I'm not sure what they were), and in the wall. Eventually, the wall started to become puzzle pieces.
I'm not sure I could paint the scene as it was in my mind. I wish I could.
Anyway, then I thought "this is great, but I should be trying to clear my mind rather than being distracted by this," and then I thought, "well no, this is a real concern of my mind, wondering whether it's a good idea to just see a beautiful scene like this and then forget it in favor of clearing my mind." That is to say, I do want to clear my mind, but I think the best path toward that is to resolve this issue of what to do about beautiful scenes which enter my mind while I'm meditating. Here are some options:
1. Acknowledge it and continue clearing my mind. That is, don't attent to it.
2. See if it's good, and if it's really good, stop meditating and try to capture the image or idea somehow.
3. Admire the image while it's in my mind -- not try to capture it for painting later -- but just see it now, like admiring a beautiful sunset.
Pros of 1: I can meditate. Also, I'll probably see more images later, so no need to capture these ones.
Cons of 1: I might miss the opportunity to capture a good image.
Hm.. am I really worried about a missed opportunity to capture a good image? I mean, I can't paint it anyway. I guess I just feel like, if I wanted to be an artist, I should do whatever I'm doing and stop at the stage of seeing beautiful images and trying to capture them. On the other hand, maybe those images only arise because I'm not seeking them.. maybe they are like dream images that arise when my mind is absent during sleep.. perhaps that is why they have more detail.
I guess the question is not whether to paint them, or even record them.. i.e. option 2. isn't really viable.. the real question is whether to do 3. Should I attent to the image, and admire it, or let it vanish.
My gut tells me that the answer to this question is: I should not attend to it. I should acknowledge it, but let it pass as a dream, because I'm after bigger fish. Hm.. when I put it like that, I feel like I'm on some quest to some great mythical place, and I ignore the wonders along the way, and when I get there it's some guy sitting, and I ask the guy, "is this it?" and he's like "did you look around you as you came here?" ..Smelling the roses, and the journey is the best part, and all that.. hm..
I think maybe I should spend a little time admiring the images, and try to understand them in the context of trying to meditate.. and see how that goes.. maybe I'll try meditating again now..
ok, I think I went.. well.. over 2 minutes that time. I was doing ok, but I had a thought, and I decided that I'd better write down the thoughts because they would just be there preventing me from going further down.. that sortof is the thought in a sense. The thought is: I need to excavate all this stuff in my mind and get it "out" so that I can go further down. I need to acknowledge fears, and be finely attuned to what's really going on in my head, and this is the path down -- rather than trying to "force" my way down by artificially clearly my mind by just ignoring what's in it. Anyway, this feels right. Incidentally, the sequence of images that came up was less pleasant this time. The first image was of a dark stone passage lit with monocrome light. The stone reminded me of a stone stature I saw recently outside a winery (I didn't actually go to the winery, I just saw the statue, but the statue is of an animal, except it doesn't really have a head..
..yeah, that's it (from this blog post). It's from the Robert Mondavi Winery. Anyway, the passage was eerie and made of stone the same way that statue is eerie and made of stone. The passage evolved and morphed a bit in my mind. Then I thought the thought "I'm trying to meditate, and my mind knows what it's doing, and it's getting there, and I just need to play along.." and I saw the scene with the passage move down as if it was at the base of a marble table, and I was beginning to see the top of the table, but when I was looking at the rim of the table I saw a face, which looked like a face carved in stone, like something I might have seen in the Louvre. Then some strange and frightening things happened with the eyes of the face, and the face morphed and changed for the worse in terms of scariness, but this didn't disturb me too much, I thought "yes, I need to overcome fear.. and this is deeply personal and would be hard to explain.." and.. well I'm not going to try to explain it -- I'm not sure I know the explanation, at least not consciously, but I feel like my subconscious knows what's up, and it seemed like it was making positive progress despite the frighteningness of the imagery. Then the scene changed to a stone slab being pushed aside to reveal a pool of what may have been blood, and there were separators in it, like the separators in a swimming pool to keep the swimmers in their lane. And flat paper-thin figures started to emerge from the pool. This was also a bit disturbing, but strangely enough is not why I stopped meditating at this moment, but rather because the ideas accompanying these images -- namely the ones about excavating my mind and facing fears as a path toward meditation seemed worth writing down, and I figured I wouldn't be able to progress more if I was thinking "oh, I should write that down."
So.. one more time? hm.. I suppose..
ok, over 3 minutes. Nice. Hm.. this time began with the image of a Chinese pot. Then, it got darker.. The overall gist of it was still "face your fears", except this time there was some real fear associated with the experience. The faded a bit when I stopped, but again, the reason I stopped was to write some of the fears I had. Though, some are too personal to put here.. if you can believe it, I have a more personal blog than this. At some point, I want to open up completely, but.. I guess I fear that too..