But this time, I'm being smart. I have set what I feel like is an ACCOMPLISHABLE goal. 15 minutes, once a day. I'm trying for everyday, but satisfied with as many days as I remember to do it. In the past I have always shot for loftier...once I tried an hour a day (yeah. need i say more?)...once I tried 20 minutes 2x a day, and then once per day and even that became, I don't know...unmanageable. And so, pride gritting its teeth all the way, I have decided to aim for a modest and meager 15 minutes. 15 minutes is doable. For now, it's doable.
I could say much more on the foggy definition (for me) of a seated practice, what I think it means and definitely doesn't mean, and what kind of discipline in combination with vision I feel I need to have in order to even begin to feel that SOMETHING is being accomplished. But that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about my legs. Well, my one leg. Well...my foot really. Because, no matter how I practice, or for how long...
My one foot always (ALWAYS) falls asleep.
And last time it happened, I had a small realization
I was meditating in a tiny little phone-booth like room (don't ask)...doing my diligent 15 minutes, and for whatever reason the foot falling-asleep-ness was particularly severe, so much so that upon rising I had to lean against a wall, both palms pressed flat to it, the frozen foot hovering in the air, just waiting for the awakening to begin.
First the foot is like a dummy...it looks as it is: fast asleep. Held next to my other bare foot it truly does look...dormant...somehow. And then, the waves of pressure begin--deep wide crests of tingles, spreading across the foot and up the leg. It's unbearable (but also pleasureable, oddly), and the feeling is so intense I can't do anything but let my eyes close and my mouth hang open and wait. These are the nerves waking up. This is the foot coming back to life, and it is shocking to me how much sensation floods across the sole, arch, ankle, calve...just to bring this one little appendage to alertness. And then, just as it comes, it subsides, the tingles dissipating, the foot returning to "normal". Able to be walked on, matched up now with its twin other foot.
And as I began to walk--to leave the little room and head back into my day--I thought about what it means to Wake Up.
I thought that my foot, were it a life, it's own little consciousness, well maybe it has just emerged from what could be called a dark night of the soul. It was sleeping deeply...but did not know it was asleep...it was deadened, numb, not feeling pleasant or unpleasant, just...asleep. And then it was asked to move, to venture forth, but could not possibly do so in it's sleeping state, and so it was forced to wake. But the waking wasn't easy, I thought, and maybe it never is. It is unbearable--it is an unbearable intense deep sensation--but it is not a PROBLEM...it is just nerves, waking up. But the pain of it, the pain and pleasure and strangeness of it is enough to leave one breathless...speechless...only able to lean against a solid surface and wait it out. It is unbearable...to feel again...to feel each nerve as it comes back to life. Who knew there were so many nerves and endings in that one little space of flesh.
This must always be what it is to wake up
Unbearable sensation...so intense it leaves you palms flat against a wall--you can do nothing but watch, feel it all ripple through you, wait for it to pass, and be flabbergasted by how much you have been asleep to all those firings of all those nerves.
And then, when it's over, there is nothing to gawk at...just a setting down of the next foot and the next, with nothing else but the knowledge that you were just asleep...and are now awake.