Meditation used to suck
This one time I decided to meditate. Then I woke up. I should really stop lying in my bed and “meditating”.
“Alright breathe in….breathe out…heart disease is like the poster child for people who eat too much rice and curry….oi, what happened to the breath?…breathe in…maybe I should order Indian takeout…hmmm I really need some more junk in my trunk, my butt really hurts from sitting on the floor…oi, breath!…breathe out…lower back is killing me…just let it go, let go of the pain, it’s the Buddhist way…oh for God’s sake where is that breath at!…hmm I wonder if I can use that knee shield to get an underhook from half guard…did Anderson Silva really take drugs…exams are coming up and I still haven’t revised the pathogenesis of lupus (#House)…”
A glimpse into the meditating mind of a crazy person. Ironically, I used to find meditating stressful. It just felt like work. I had enough things to do and now I was setting aside time to watch my breath, which is surprisingly hard to do.
So I gave it up for a long time.
But then, this immensely happy Buddhist monk by the name of Peter Betts came to the rescue. He is of course better known as Ajahn Brahm. I call him Peter because we are on a first name basis (he doesn’t know that yet). He has some really interesting insights into what it means to be “still” which is essentially the ultimate aim of meditation.
He has this routine where he pours a cup of water and holds it in front of him. Arm fully outstretched.
The aim of the game. Keep the cup of water perfectly still.
It’s obvious that the cup is in constant movement. A little to the left. A little to the right. Up. Down. Constantly readjusting.
As time passes, the cup starts feeling heavy. The weight hasn’t changed. It still weighs 432g (give or take, I may have weighed a cup of water at home #commitment). His arm starts shaking. Then the pain comes. The adjustments get bigger and bigger.
The more he tries to keep it still, the less still it becomes.
Moral of the story. Stay hydrated!
Jokes! Although staying hydrated is up there with “happy wife, happy life” as far as life skills goes, this is not the moral of the story.
The teaching exists in how you keep this cup of water perfectly still. Of course, the answer is…we will find out after the break.
Tonight on 7 News, a young Sri Lankan male has been found guilty of criminally good looks and could Lucy the dog hold the secret to the cure for cancer? Find out at 6 after Millionaire Hot Seat.
Ok we’re back #tangentcity.
The answer, of course, is to put the cup down. That’s deep. This is deeper than the void that Sangakkara and Mahela left in the Sri Lankan cricket team.
So naturally, I applied this to my meditation practice and I have been loving it! From trying on and off for years to consistent dedication for the last 3 years is a big jump and this little anecdote had a part to play.
Let’s say my breath is the cup of water. I just put it down. I don’t look out for it. I don’t try to control it. I don’t keep trying to think about it.
As I have mentioned, concentrating on my breath was too much work and it brings out my brilliant borderline obsessive compulsive traits. Now, I literally just sit there and do nothing. I just watch the concoction of utter gold and garbage that enters and leaves the space between my ears. I watch the thoughts but, I try not to react to them. I am giving myself something that I feel I deserve which is a moment to myself where I try my best to do absolutely nothing. And it feels gooooooooood. It’s funny because my thoughts tend to get quieter and quieter as time goes on. And on some days, as the noise becomes almost unnoticeable, there is only one thing that is left. My breath.
Meditation has a place in modern day society. It is not only for the Buddhist monk or those that are “spiritual”. The everyday man or woman who feels stressed, nervous, unhappy, anxious or even depressed at times can benefit i.e. everyone.
As always, don’t do drugs, stay in school and remember that “if you want to have a powerful body, exercise it…if you want a powerful mind, keep it still.”
Be kind to yourself and others.