Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chisoku, cont.


There are people who give up on starting a meditation practice because they can't sit full lotus. Although most people understand that they will not be doing the side crane asana after their introductory lesson, some feel discouraged about being a beginner, and deny themselves the path altogether.

And for some, that is covertly a way to let themselves off the hook.

There is a saying that the hardest asana is change.

A wonderful man came by the house yesterday to discuss energy use, including a possible solar energy system. Before installing that 2-kilowatt solar power plant on top of our garage, there are steps to take inside the house regarding efficiency. I won't go into lots of mundane detail about solar film and occupancy sensors and the like, but one observation. He spoke in terms of saving money while preserving a status quo. In other words, how to make the present lifestyle more affordable.

Nothing wrong with that. That is what most people want: "how can I use the same amount of power but make it cost less?" It's a familiar motivation.

Sealing up the windows, updating the insulation, and installing one or two more ceiling fans, can help the air conditioning work more efficiently when it's on, and that is well worth doing -- but what about having it on less? Would it be an option to feel just a little more of the summer heat at times?

Occupancy sensors -- the devices that switch off the lights when no one has been in the room for a while -- can save us from acquiring the habit of switching the lights off ourselves when we leave a room. Yet this is still a technological solution for a problem that has a human solution: mindfulness.

This isn't a process of self-flagellation or deprivation. It's a creative process. What would it be like if we tried this?

We won't be able to do the big solar energy system right away. It's a big price tag, and our community does not yet have financing options for something like this. It's too new an industry. Something might happen with that later. So the exciting solar panels on top of the garage will have to wait: it's something we can't do yet.

Instead of focusing on big things I can't do, and giving up on the whole thing, what are the small things that I can do, here where I am?

4 comments:

Nathan said...

I have never understood the sometimes obsessive focus on full lotus. Nine years of meditation practice - still no full lotus pose for me. It's no problem at all, nor do I even worry about someday doing meditation regularly in full lotus. I hope anyone reading your post, and worrying about lotus pose, or even half lotus pose, might be able to let it go in reading my words. You can be dedicated to enlightenment, regardless of how you sit or stand.

Pam said...

Switching off lights has become an engrained habit around here for all of us, most of the time, as are other small energy-saving habits. I try to police the energy-vampire objects such as cell phone chargers and game chargers that stay plugged in most of the time if I don't go around unplugging them.

This past spring I took advantage of my energy company's offer to install smart thermostates that are programmable and interactive via the Internet. I've learned to monitor my energy usage and adjust my AC settings upward while still being comfortable. I also opted in for the turning off of my AC unit by the company for short periods of time during peak usage times. I barely notice the difference.

These things might not be much, but they are what I can do and do right now.

Kelly said...

I think many of us are guilty of getting in our "comfort zones" and resisting change.

From the research we've done on solar, the cost-efficiency and technology aren't quite there yet for us to take the plunge.

We're always open to ideas, though.

Algernon said...

Pammy, the steps you have taken do make a significant difference. It is more than many households do. My kudos to you!