I fucking suck at meditation.
If you’ve read much of my stuff, you’re already acquainted with my general lack of concentration on candle flames, my thoughts, my breath, and my propensity to flagellate myself for the pitiful failures at meditation, which is of course NOT the goal of the practice: whip marks on the back. (See: the Tick, Tock Series)
I have found a new salvation, however, thanks mostly to the influence of one dead philosopher, Alan Watts, and one living: Eckhart Tolle.
Watts argued that the problem with meditation in the West, i.e., ‘Merica, or the West more generally, to include Canadia, and Europia, is that we view everything as ‘having a purpose.’ That is to say that it must DO something, or have some practical application to something called, ‘real life’, whatever the fuck that is.
Watts went on to say that this cannot be applied to meditation, anymore than it could be applied to music, or dancing. He said, and I paraphrase, that if the goal of music was practical, or in other words, to ‘get to the end of the piece,’ than the fastest conductors would be considered the best. There is no goal of dancing, you just dance! It’s not to get to a particular place on the floor. The same goes with meditation. It is just to meditate.
That being said, there are practical by-products of meditation, and that’s what a great many of us are after. I won’t go into those here, because I don’t really give a damn about them, and you can find those elsewhere. The most important benefit of meditation, is that it teaches us to be IN THE PRESENT, the NOW! Most of us live in the two places that don’t exist–the Past and the Future–while missing out on the only moment that does exist: NOW. And meditation is great for bringing us back to the now.
The other philosopher, Tolle, is the evangelist of the Now. And he argues that meditation can be ANYTHING. It doesn’t require you to sit for hours, or even minutes, in a lotus position, which is never gonna happen in my case, since I’m really fuckin’ un-bending. I mean, I’m as stiff as a North Wind in February, in Minnesota: stiffer maybe.
No, Tolle says that the easiest form of meditation is what he calls, ‘mini’ meditations. What the fuck is that? Simply, that you can turn any ordinary, daily routine action into a meditation, simply by bring your attention and focus on what you’re doing, just for a few seconds, or maybe even up to a minute. That’s it!
So, today, we’re gonna practice…
Mini Meditation #1: Being the Drink
This is really simple. This morning, or sometime today, when you reach for that cup of coffee, or water, South Farthing Sweet Tea, or cola, or bourbon, doesn’t matter what–actually TASTE IT. Bring your attention to the sensations of the glass or mug in your hand, the warmth or coldness of the liquid rolling over your tongue, and the flavor, or not, of the drink itself. Actually savor it. Be the drink. Get into it.
And you’re done! That was pretty fuckin’ painless, right?
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