I don’t quite know how one meditates and still indulges this impulse for humor.
You can’t quite divorce yourself from the ego and still maintain this muscle that thrives on finding everything wrong with the world.
I do know that when Covid shut the world down that my head, medicated as it was, could not stop or even slow down.
Well ya gotta do something. You can’t let your head play around in isolation like a deer in the field. It’ll tell itself stories. It’ll yell at you. it’ll start an imaginary argument with someone. It’ll assume things about others that most likely aren’t true.
Next thing you know you’re flushed and angry and ready to cry.
And to what end? Nothing.
It was in this spirit that I stumbled upon meditation.
I was raised evangelical. It’s a very showy religion. It’s a particularly American flavor of an old eastern religion, an off-shoot of Judaism, that centers around the teachings of one Jesus of Nazareth.
Who’s bare bones approach to the spirituality seems to be very much at odds with the American flavor of politically charged damnation rhetoric.
In short, when Christ comes back I hope it’s not by airplane.
My parents sent me to Christian schools which are supposed to be better. They are not. They told us many things that were at best flawed and at worst down right alarming. Bullshit to rival the Tower of Babel.
One of those things was that: IF YOU EVEN SO MUCH AS THINK ABOUT LOOKING UP ANOTHER RELIGION TO SEE WHAT THEY BELIEVE, SATAN WILL HAVE HIS HOOKS IN YOU AND YOU SHALL BE DRAGGED TO THE NEVER ENDING FIRES OF HELL!”
Knowledge was very dangerous. And as with most things they said that amounted to “Curiosity damned the cat to hell.” I hoisted my young self onto Eve’s shoulders and ate of the tree.
I once attended a sermon that rambled on about the sins of yoga. Seems odd to not want to stretch before ascending the golden stairway, but alright.
Anyway, so I began reading about Zen Buddhism and meditation, looking for some sort of relief from the mind’s chaos.
I, a North American cliche, downloaded the Calm app and began using that guide me in this way. A very basement level entry. No real spirituality here. It’s just thing you can do to help you. I’m still on the highway to Hell, just saying … you can do this without going lama wild.
It … helped. I was able to still the mind. Not the first day, oh honey, not even close.
The metaphor in my mind is that of an old Republic Pictures western. The stagecoach driver has been clocked and the frightened horses are running wild through the canyon with a coach full of passengers. Roy Rogers on Trigger, that magnificent horse shining like gold in the sun appear on a distant hill. It’s black and white, but you can still see it. After a second’s pause they descend down the side of the mountain. Horse and rider fused together as one. The beast mighty legs pumping like pistons, generating a rolling cloud of dust that might as well be smoke from the feet of pure fire. Alas Roy and Trigger pull even with the stage. The four horsepower Wells Fargo wagon is showing no signs of slowing. Carefully and skillfully, Roy leaps from Trigger and onto one of the lead horses. He pulls at the reins. He shows the horse that he is in control. His commands are strong, but by no means unkind. Finally, the horses are calmed by the sturdy hand and begin to slow and eventually stop.
That is what meditation did for my brain.
I was very surprised to hear meditation teachers quote Jesus. As we covered earlier, not something you’d ever catch happening in reverse. Trump exhibits righteous behavior, but the Dalai Lama does not? Very confusing.
I didn’t necessarily sign up for another path. I am a seeker, and I have found peace and mental clarity in this practice.
I am calmer, I am kinder, I have more control over my thoughts and a deeper appreciation for this one life I have been given.
As I heard a great teacher once say, “Zen is doing one thing at a time.”