Friday, March 6, 2009

But Why An Earthen Home?

This is a lovely cob house(hand made mud and straw 'cobs' or oblong bricks)). The small picture does not do it justice so I suggest you look at it on Flickr in the large size. And if you want to see how a cob house is built go to

Ok, so you don't HAVE to fondle dirt to simplify your life. That was a meditation suggestion, jeez-don't take everything so seriously!
But I really like the stone meditation and hope you try it. I find it puts me into a place of, not eternity exactly, but a sense of change over eons. One of the things I have always loved is to come across very old marble steps that have been deeply worn by scajillions of footsteps.
But the reasons for a wonderful little cob house like the one in the picture are that it is so very natural, mud and straw; it would be all hand made; I would have touched and squished almost all the mud in my walls; it would be cheap; I could scupt things on the walls; I could make a house that isn't square or rectangular; I could reach out and touch my walls and be touching the earth.
So much for mud hut fantasies.
I believe that the best way to move toward simplifying attitudes is to make time for 'awareness' meditation. Awareness of the breath is a great technique and allows you to examine your thoughts non-judgementally, it is utterly simple and there is no way to do it incorrectly.

Basic Breath Awareness (From: by Kelly McGonigal )
The most basic breathing practice is simple breath awareness. Come into a comfortable seated position - cross-legged, kneeling, or in a chair. It's important to have the spine straight, so that the lungs and torso have room to expand in all directions as you breathe. To lengthen the spine, consider sitting with a folded blanket just under the hips (cross-legged) or between the hips and heels (kneeling).
Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Begin by simply noticing each breath as it happens. As you inhale, notice that you are inhaling. As you exhale, notice that your are exhaling. Continue this noticing until you feel your awareness settling comfortably and reliably on the breath. You can then refine your awareness, by noticing more subtle aspects of the breath. Consider shifting your awareness to the following aspects of the breath:
· Notice the breath entering and exiting the body at the tip of your nose.
· Notice the breath move through the airway, from the nose to the mouth to the throat as you inhale, and from the throat to the mouth to the nose as you exhale.
· Notice the quality of your breath: Does it feel jagged or smooth? Does it feel rushed or slow? Does it feel shallow or deep?
· Notice the sound of your breath: Can you hear it? What does it sound like?
· Notice the length of each inhalation and exhalation. Are they even? Is the breath slowing down or speeding up?
· Notice the belly moving with the breath. Place your hands on your belly and feel the belly expand and contract.
· Notice the rib cage moving with the breath. Place your hands on your rib cage and feel the ribs expand and contract.
· Notice the chest and upper back moving with the breath. Wrap your arms around your upper chest and shoulders, and feel the chest and upper back move with the breath. (see the
hug breath for a more detailed version of this observation).
· Notice the full dimensionality of your breath: radiate out, in all directions, with each breath.
Continue to notice whatever you notice - go deeper with this awareness practice and notice the subtleties of your own breath. With this practice, you are not trying to consciously control the breath. However, as you become more aware of the breath, you may find that the quality of your breath changes. Allow this to happen naturally, without strain or effort.
Suggested Practice Time: 5 minutes or longer. Practice several times a day, if possible. This is a practice that can stand on its own, whenever you have the chance to practice it.

If you have trouble focusing on breath alone without the mind racing at great speed, try counting ten breaths, and then ten more, until you feel somewhat calmer. See for really excellent instruction on awareness meditation.
Some peolpe say, "nothing doing" to doing nothing, but how simple is it to be busy every second of every day? take some time from diversion, from entertainment, and get to know yourself.


Allie said...

That house is just awesome. I've always had a hard time meditating - my brain is hyperactive - but find when I do thinks like garden, hike, or bike, I can clear my head. I need the physical distraction to let the mental ones go.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

I think gardening is a wonderful way to meditate. In fact I was just looking for pictures of gardens for a post!