10 days ago when I hosted my first group meditation I noticed that some new distractions entered my mind. Instead of concentrating on my own practice I started worrying about whether I was being a good host. I wondered if it was too hot for people. I was concerned that the Goenka recording might malfunction. I hoped I was representing that tradition adequately. These mental wanderings kept me from feeling a sense of deep meditation. As more people have read my blog these distractions during my meditation have increased. I wonder first if these posts are well written and easy to understand. Then I wonder if people in my life will think I’m crazy. When I notice that people all over the world are reading my blog I wonder if I’m representing the tradition fairly and if I’m actually helping motivate anyone to complete their daily meditations.
When I was just worrying about going to work and completing my own meditations it was easier to settle my mind. I wasn’t worried about anyone judging me or about needing to support anyone. Once I put myself in a position to help others grow in dhamma focussing became harder. Fortunately, since today is the start of the college football season a good comparison came to my mind. I think my experience can be compared to a field goal kicker. A kicker will practice all summer kicking 45 yard field goals and make everyone but the real challenge is making a 45 yard field goal with 80,000 people watching you. The same task just got a whole lot harder and it might take a little while to relearn how to kick a field goal with this additional adrenaline and pressure.
I think my meditation practice is similar. Just because my meditations have become harder doesn’t mean I’ve taken a step backwards. Instead I’ve taken on a more challenging and rewarding goal that will take me some more time to master. Creating a space in society for Vipassana meditators to practice safely and confidently isn’t easy but the benefit for everyone in the Vipassana community will be tremendous. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll be more used to so many people reading my posts and I’ll be able to sit with a much stronger foundation of who I am.