Stacked pebbles.

Stacked pebbles.

With over three years of daily practice under my belt, I’ve seen lots of changes in my life.

The way I see things, the way I interpret things, the way I deal with things, the way I feel about things – all of these are better.  More peaceful, more calm, more measured, more effective, just better.

It’s not just my mind that has changed, however.

My body too, has undergone a gradual but palpable transformation.  Sitting with my spine straight and unsupported, my torso upright and holding its own weight, has given me core strength the like of which I could never have imagined possible.  Also, I have felt the asymmetry between my right and left sides even out slowly.

I’ve known for a long time that my right leg is a bit longer than my left, but sitting cross legged on the floor every day has made me aware that there is a big difference down the whole length of my body.  My right side is bigger, longer, denser and stiffer than my left.  Sometimes I feel the asymmetry even in warmth on the right side and coolness on the left.

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Bright FlowerThere is a fine line between spiritual practice and ritual.  

I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with ritual per se, I guess it’s just down to the importance one may attach to it.  We all conduct various repeated behaviour in the course of our daily lives, kinds of rituals that we enact for a variety of reasons.

The chanting of mantra is in itself ritualistic, repeating the same small collection of sounds, with their vowels, consonants and dipthongs, all the subtleties of the sounds as they roll from the mouth into the air.  Inevitably, there is a structure that builds up around such daily practice.  As far as I understand it, these kinds of behavioural habits are not seen as particularly useful in themselves, as they can become structures to which we can become attached in an unhelpful and perhaps delusional manner – doing it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, doing things in the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ order etc.

I have always liked the non-punitive nature of Buddhist and Hindu thinking.  Continue reading