This commitment to sit has changed my mornings, which usually begin with me hurtling out of bed and heading to my laptop. (As an internet writer, my work is flexible but constant; the topics never stop coming and the "office" is never truly closed.)
Now, I rise and brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed in loose clothing and take 20 steps to my sitting area in my spare bedroom. The extended quiet that meditation has brought into my morning just seems like a much better fit than the immediate hurry-scurry; I'm finding I prefer to ease into the day this way.
Today's "reward" was that my zafu (my round buckwheat-filled cushion for meditation) surfaced; now with the round black pillow placed on the flat black floor pillow -- my zabuton -- all is right with the world.
I sat again, no timer involved, just the travel clock at my feet, and closed my eyes.
Perhaps it's just a natural thing that when you first shut your eyes, the world is dark but eventually brightens. Of course your eyes adjust and then "see" more light, but in the three days I've sat this time around, the brightening always seems to come with an uplifting sense.
Today, reflecting upon the experience afterwards, it brings to mind a lighthouse.
Getting through the initial difficulties of letting go of thought, there come a time in my meditation when that internal "opening" of awareness occurs. Day 1 was like walls coming down, Day 2 was like greyness stretching.
Today it felt like I had ascended the long upward spiral of a lighthouse and come out at the top. But instead of a light surrounded by lenses, I occupied the center. The walls around me seemed grey and flat, but in reality they were translucent and the light itself was grey. The longer I remained in my meditative state, the lighter the windows grew, until I sat in a strong but diffused light.
I should add that in the physical room I sit in, there's a window at 9 o'clock and one at 1 o'clock that bring in even light.
It became clear to me today that the light is enough. Ascending to the top is not about the views but about the rising above concerns and thoughts that grab like impatient hands. If I can reach that space, I have reached myself.
It's a gift to have a span of quiet and light and space and nothing more each and every day. Occasionally I hear things elsewhere in the house, but they only register as sounds -- my thoughts don't follow.
It's only as I sit here and type this that I recall -- my dog must have shook himself downstairs because I heard the tags on his collar jingling.
When I opened my eyes, I saw that it had been 20 minutes exactly...untimed. I've liked flying blind without a timer. It has made the meditation less competitive because I'm just present with myself and there is nothing to count up to or down to.
And when I opened my eyes, the world reminded me that in my own house, the windows are meant to show views.
Outside the one in front of me, a branching series of bare tree limbs reached out against the solid blue sky, snow gracing their extended arms like a cape of winter white.