Meditation for Dummies, from a Dummy

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During a very embarrassing period of my youth, I read up on a lot of material that my dad liked to call NEWAGE, rhymes with SEWAGE. It was a superstitious time, in which I was content to entertain the idea that I might concentrate hard enough to leave my body. Why exactly it seemed super-enticing to fly around above my own head and peer down at the body I disliked enough to want to leave, well, that is not a question I posed.

In pursuit of altered states, I tried meditation. I sat in the most peaceful room I could find and stared at verbena scented candle flames and imagined my brain was a tiny dumpster that I was emptying. Whoosh goes the breath. Whoosh goes the thought.

As was my habit, I gave up on meditation after three attempts, tops. It was aggravating. My dumpster was bottomless. I decided, quite incorrectly, that there was something about my excess thinking that made me unsuitable for meditation.

Is it possible that movie stars are not the best meditation guides? Seems plausible. Maybe they warned me that the bottomless thought dumpster is to be expected, but I missed that bit during the noisy compactor cycle.

Anyway, you can do better at it than you think you can. And you will think about it because people simply cannot not think things. It’s fine.

Sometimes you’ll meditate and feel no palpable relief, but I will bet actual imaginary money that only trying meditation will help you.

When you cultivate a daily habit and then miss it terribly when you inevitably skip it, well, then it must be doing something. Try it for five to ten minutes each day, and keep track of your general sense of peacefulness, for at least ten days. Take off day eleven if you want to be technical about it.

It does not have to cost you anything. You don’t need to pay for an app on your phone to tell you to breathe. Get comfortable and focus on slow, deep breathing. You don’t have to assume the standard meditating pose, but it can be useful to communicate to people who stumble into your shrine area: hey, I’m meditating here.

When you think about anything, just observe that you are thinking don’t hurry to abuse yourself about your unruly brain. Your thoughts are just a thing in your brain which is also just a thing.

Thing about it.

Let me know how it goes!


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