I have been trying to learn to meditate ever since I moved up here to Woodstock where meditation is a Thing.
When I lived in Queens I was used to “thinking things over.” But “thinking things over” is an inferior product compared to meditation, like a rickety handmade bench compared to a sturdy one ordered from Overstock. Your slipshod thoughts are likely to slip off and land you on your ass somewhere you don’t want to be when you are merely thinking things over; when you meditate, the structure holds you, and you get peaceful and chill. As I understand it.
Meditation allows you to gain control and focus your thoughts by letting them loose, unhooking them from the You of you, ceding control and focus.
Obviously, I do not understand.
I can sit in a lotus posture, but it is not strictly necessary, online gurus tell me. Just as long as I am sitting comfortably. (But I suspect it might be a little bit better to sit in a lotus posture to put my body on notice that I am serious about this, so I sit in a lotus posture.) It makes me tense. Well then it’s pretty clear I am not getting it, since it is supposed to lead me to feeling the opposite of tense. It is really all right, online gurus say, to sit comfortably anywhere. I can even lie down.
My unruly mind, however, asks if it would be okay to stand.
My inner guru says suit yourself, but it is clear I am still not getting it. I have failed.
You can’t “fail” at meditation my inner guru says taking a deep In breath, the kind I am supposed to take while I am sitting, though I sense a little exasperation in the long air I (she) take(s) in. “But most people sit.”
I sit. I sit. There’s something hard under me and I shift. I shift. That’s good, my inner guru says, you are tuning in to your body. I scratch my knee. I scratch my nose. I toss a psychic stone out into the deep blue sea of vague thought. I am getting there. I feel I am on the sturdy bench of meditation. Then my inner guru says you just mixed your metaphors pretty badly and boom, I am on my ass again, back in my own head.
Not bad for a first try, my inner guru says. I check my watch. Two minutes.
If I could stand, I would call it Standing Meditation. It would be an entirely other Thing, maybe not as good as sitting meditation, but surely better than just “thinking things over.”
As it stands today (pun intended) I do a pretty intense standing meditation in the aisle of Home Goods, looking at the hanging rugs. All the rugs to the left, all the rugs to the right, what is the difference between unhooked and unhinged?
My inner guru purses her lips. She does not want to make any judgments, but…
My standing/stirring meditation is better. The circular motion around the sides of the pot is gentle, and the sauce thickens. The small element of control I have, turning down the heat, scraping the bottom and bringing it up to the top, fills me with peace and goodwill.
“Dhyana “(a Sanskrit word meaning advanced meditation) sounds to me like the Hebrew word “Dayenu” (which we chant at Passover and which means “enough.”) I can say dayenu to dhyana and stir my way to a peaceful day.
Or I can sit at the computer and in the deepest mindfulness of all (for me) I will think things out here, as I write.