It is always easier to focus when we are in a good place, both physically and mentally. Sometimes we aren’t in that place, perhaps we feel we are never in that place!
We may sit to meditate and then the neighbors decide it is time to drill holes in the walls to put up shelves, or the traffic outside gets really noisy, or the birds are fighting outside…. “Oh, only if everyone would just shut up I could actually focus my mind and meditate properly!”
Sometimes it is not even things outside our body’s… maybe we have a bad headache, or a migraine. “Oh, i simply can’t focus, my mind is under attack and I need to lay down!”
Well, in Zen, it is said that a good situation is a bad situation and a bad situation is a good situation! lol. So, when we are in these bad situations… can we not find out how come this is actually a good situation? Surely a noisy drill pounding into your head, with a migraine no less, is not good! lol. But, it is good, in a way, a ‘zen’ way…. what can we learn from this situation? Bodhidharma got clonked on the head with a rock.. OUCH! but BAM.. he realized his inherent nature in that moment. When we are suffering, weather in a minor way or in a major way, this suffering provides us with the opportunity to explore it, to kindly and gently, with tenderness, to ask ourselves why it is we suffer and where it is born from… When we get past answering this questioning with “I know where it comes from, it’s from that stupid drill!”, we can begin to truly explore it… with love for ourselves.
Laying down, because the brain is ravaged with a migraine attack, does prevent us from doing sitting meditation, sure, but we can do better meditation! It is like when a person is facing death and all of a sudden they start praying to God…. their love, their heart, is true in those moments, and they beg for help, and become open to help. Prayer has the power to transform ourselves, it opens our heart-minds and allows Truth to flow into our sight.
Buddhism is not about escaping pain, but it is also not about seeking pain. The Middle Way. When pain arrises, we can explore this, or we can rest, whatever we choose, if it is with deep love for ourselves, then all will be OK.