It is hard to tell if meditation does any good. Anyone who does it for a while can give you examples, real or imagined, of how they are less stressed, less angry, more patient, but is anyone really measuring levels of ire or compassion? Tracking the increase in seconds between agitating action and reaction? Unfortunately for us datageeks, no. We can convince ourselves that meditation has had an enormous impact on our lives or none at all, and who’s to say who’s right (especially since the latter don’t typically put in the amount of practice necessary for adequate scientific comparison. Quitters!)
I choose to believe that my recent feelings of awakening, of intellectual openness and learning and discovery, are a combination of the state of the world, the state of my world, and, crucially, the state of my consciousness. I have soooo much to discuss with you all, but I need a bit more time to process.
The great work begins. (Tony Kushner, Angels in America)
Early on, I mentioned my meditation app in passing. Since then, I’ve been forced to confront some spiritually materialistic tempations of the app, temptations in the lure of which I was a squirrel on an unsustainable California almond farm.
The good news is that the app has corrected itself! I no longer have to be strong (or start being strong)- the poisoned nut has been removed.
Seven houses, more precisely. Seven houses I didn’t get. And to extend that precision, I am not literally a train, nor have I even figuratively been thrown off the primary track of my life, having never chosen one. However, since I started actively looking for a house I have slept less, drunk more, eaten worse, shortened my meditations, and written almost nothing. House hunting in an inflated seller’s market, in a good economy, is fucking with my Qi. How embarrassing. Continue reading “Derailed by a House”→
I’m not someone who tends to freak out on my birthday. I don’t call exceptional attention to it either. But this year I’ve decided to give myself a more significant gift (dinner, fancy drinks, a movie, the pedicure I’ve been talking about for 5 years, Cadbury milk chocolate eggs, 2 days and 3 glorious nights off the anti-inflammatory diet, 3 days without working, 2 days without touching a computer) and to try and articulate some recent thoughts I’ve had on getting older.
OOOOH!!! LOOK AT ME! I did 165 hours of silent meditation last year! Aren’t I spiritual?
And this is the first time I’ve shown this to anyone. Isn’t that humble? And this screenshot was from over a month ago, when I had many fewer hours logged. Isn’t that modest? And I’m clearly making fun of myself now. Isn’t that self-effacing?
I don’t tell you about all the hours I volunteer and all the money I donate not because I’m such a spiritual person, but because I’m not – because I think that withholding that information makes me a better person. Have you ever read The Fall by Camus? The opening monologue yanked out my precious soul and ground it into the cheap meat I always knew it was.
Am I being too hard on myself? Probably. Am I utterly devoid of pure, loving motivation? No, not utterly. But my cup runneth over with spiritual materialism. This isn’t novice meditator stuff & I promise I’ll explain more later, but I’m behind on work and living out of a bag this weekend and I just wanted to say hi and lay this on you. Dig it, man.
Have you? Congratulations! Maybe you’ve tried it once or twice or every once in a while; maybe you’re completely uninitiated. If you’re a regular meditator, you’ll probably find the following amusing or nostalgic, at best. But here are some questions I wanted answered when I started meditating. Continue reading “So You’ve Resolved to Start Meditating”→