Have you ever tried meditating? I mean really tried?
Like me, if you’ve scrolled through the various gazillion articles and blogs out there that herald all the benefits of meditation, then you know that if done properly you can miraculously transform your bitching, moaning, whiney-ass self into the next Bodhidharma. I mean, who among us doesn’t want to be filled with all that tranquillity? All that peacefulness? I do goddamnit.
By definition, meditation is the
habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts
Figuring out the best meditation practice to accomplish this tour de force can be confusing because there are approximately 900 thousand different ways to train your mind to calm the fuck down. From Qigong Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Chakra Meditation all the way down to the conventionalized “Mindfulness Meditation”. You can do it guided or silent. You can choose to repeat a mantra, count the breath, or listen to the rain forest. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion. You can even sit in a chair but lying down is hardly ever recommended (because it can be confused with sleeping).
I have been a devoted follower of the practice for almost an entire three months. I’m for real not joking. My iphone app tells me that I am in the midst of a mind blowing 37 day streak. That’s almost as impressive as Lijana Wallenda walking the tightrope 25 stories high above Times Square (you’ll have to ignore the fact that she was tethered to a safety harness because it kinda ruined the whole thing but you see my point).
Since I am practically a full blown Zen Master, I would like to share with you one of my secrets to enlightenment through meditation...the right app. Which app to choose can be overwhelming because of the colossal amount of apps out there promising to deliver you to Xanadu. With my extensive background in the discipline, I have learned that all of those bells and whistles aren’t necessary–so don’t get sucked into a premium membership and for god’s sake stay away from the bundles.
I am currently using an app called Waking Up. It was created by this legit New York Times best-selling author, public intellectual (I don’t understand what the hell that is but it was in his bio) and neuroscientist with more than 30 years of meditation practice under his belt. During one of his guided meditation sessions this brainiac keeps saying to “look for the one who is looking” which really throws me for a loop but by god it works because “looking for the one who is looking” takes every bit of focused attention that I can muster. You should try it for yourself right now… Look for the one who is looking. If it doesn’t mess with your mind then you aren’t doing it right.
Now before you go all sanctimonious on me, I know that using your phone to find peace and harmony doesn’t make logical sense and yada yada yada. Is technology destroying the evolution of man? Well fuck I don’t know.
Let’s not get sidetracked. (According to the stats you are only going to give my post 37 seconds of your attention so efficiency here is utmost)
Admittedly, I’m still not the coolest cucumber on the block. I don’t believe that any of my immediate family, friends or co-workers would say that they have noticed a change in me over the last three weeks. To them, I’m confident that I remain the same uptight, obsessive compulsive, angry person that I’ve always been. But I swear I’ve changed. After practicing my loving kindness meditation before going to work, my desire to kill certain people diminishes greatly. Also, I’ve noticed that I pet my dog more and that I am beginning to sometimes listen to what other people are saying.
I plan to stay committed to the practice and see where it might take me. I can practically feel my cortisol levels dropping as I write this. I don’t suspect that I will ever reach the Fred Rogers level of niceness and doubtful that I will ever be as peace loving as Nelson Mandela. I’m kinda just hoping that I will melt down a little less often and be able to display a little more self-restraint in expressing my displeasure with whatever or whoever it is that has transgressed against me.
I am 51 years old and I’m not doing it very gracefully. Walking the line between being a crazed perfectionist and settling into complacency is like performing a Wallenda stunt 25 stories above Times Square. Between striving to be better, striving to do better and accepting yourself just as you are, there exists one hard thin line for you to navigate. It is a constant, never ending balancing act of unsanctified intensity with no safety harness.
In the daily struggle of living life, if there’s anything at all that meditation is teaching me, it is this….
Contentment isn’t something that you find and hold onto, it’s just something that you experience from time to time.
14 July 2019