Meditation or masturbation?

MeditationAs I began my meditation this morning, it occurred to me that I might be performing mental masturbation and not actually meditating.
And then I thought about how the idea of masturbating is probably much easier for most people.
Meditation on the other hand, and dealing with yourself and your own mind, can be extremely difficult most of the time.
I often find my mind wandering from one irrelevant thought to another. Then I attach to one of those thoughts, like this one, and think “Wow, here’s a good topic for a Blog post”.
This is not meditation my dear friends! This is mental masturbation. And it is no different than if I were to sit on the cushion and pray, look for visions, or try to obtain solutions to problems.
There are many religious practices that may have different focuses such as this, but that is not what meditation is about.
Meditation is about nothing. It is about being present and breathing. But probably, like many of you, I have an untrained and unskilled mind.
There are moments when I feel there is nothing but the breath, while the very next moment I am thinking about the sound of the dishwasher running in the kitchen. Then, as I return to the breath, I find my muscles have tightened and breathing has become slightly labored. And as I try to relax and breath again, I find my attention once again is not on the present moment or the breath. It is on the body, the sensations, and the aversion to these feelings.
Most apparent to me, is the desire to be done with my session. Waiting for the final gong bell to go off, each moment seems to last forever. As if I am being tortured by being with the self!

I believe that only with continued practice and gentle acceptance can I overcome these distractions and aversions.
If you wrestle with any of these yourself, please know that you are not alone.
As Bhante Sujatha has taught me, accept – be mindful – cultivate.
And I think this is the same formula that one needs to apply while meditating.
Accepting the monkey mind, be mindful of your body and your breath, and accept that this process will take time and patience to cultivate.

May you each be well, happy and peaceful.