Buddhist Meditation 101: Don’t just stand there! Do Nothing–Quickly (but slowly)!

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In Spires In Thailand

If I’ve learned anything in my life, ANY ONE SINGLE THING, it’s not to harbor resentment and ill will, and this can be done, with some practice and some diligence. There should be a better term for this in English-language parlance than simply ‘letting (it) go’, but then, that’s not exactly our specialty as a culture, now, is it? So I guess that will have to do. If every single moment of our lives is potentially new, then I guess we could thank the Christian tradition of confession for that, but meditation is probably better…

I used to invoke the ‘Three Times’ clause with a previous GF, so that once we repeated the same talking points three times in any given argument, then we should stop, invoke a period of silence, and come back to it the next day, if we could still remember what it was we were arguing about. We never could of course—ever. So my erstwhile GF should have loved me all the more for that little trick, right? Yeah, right…

But I even learned some deep meditation in the process, as a means of escape, something which I doubted I could ever do, for an hour or two, in response to another aggravation from a different partner in a different time at another place. So somewhere that bit of unpleasantness revealed to me that I could indeed find a deeper refuge within myself than I had previously otherwise imagined, stuck at mediocre mediation sessions that might extend to 15-20 minutes, at best, even if with increasing appreciation of it…

It won’t help as much with jealousy, though, and other negative emotions. Jealousy is a tough nut to crack. The quasi-diabolical fact of life that others have so much more than us, while doing so much less, is difficult to accept. But that’s typical, isn’t it, that once we’ve got survival down pat, that our demons come out to play, come out to haunt us, taunt us and lie to us, try to convince us that we’re more and better than we really are?

These are the Buddhist kleshas, bad emotions like fear, hate, lust and anger. Arrogance and false pride are tough, too. Try to meditate those away. It’ll take a lifetime. But popularity is the great seductress, the need to be liked. If that seemed like ‘kid-stuff’ a decade ago, then social media has upped the ante, cultural neoteny in process, dumbing us down, down in the ground, while showing us some blue skies, too, and the miracle of nostalgic fulfillment, reliving the past as if it were the present…

So now we not only need to be ‘liked’, but ‘followed’ and ‘shared’, too, in the fashion of the day. And so it is with this blog. I know I could score more points if I simply re-hashed Eckhart Tolle’s main talking points and acted as if they were my own, as others do, and have always done, like 1986 Berkeley, self-appointed shamans quoting Carlos Castaneda almost verbatim but unattributed at the local shamanic seminar, back when that was trending…

But I’m on a journey to the source, to the heart of Buddhism, where Tolle gets most of his stuff, but without the baggage of religion and doctrine. And that I filter through science, to check for updates and necessary add-ons and plug-ins. For while none of us can be certain of absolute Truth, it is pretty easy to check for absolute Falseness and total BS. If that doesn’t ‘feel-good’ like the romance of ‘Nowness’ and ‘energy centers’, then so be it. ‘Nowness’ is purely and simply meditation, best if taken in healthy doses at least twice a day, so that’s that…

But Buddhism is much more than that, and meditation is not necessarily the paradigm for life, certainly not the only one. And ‘likes’ are certainly not love, not the true unconditional love of mystic communion. So as long as one person likes what I do here, then I will continue to write this blog. I certainly promise no enlightenment, and if that were to occur, in whatever measure, then it would be cause of some word striking a vocal chord in you, not the word itself…

The quest for enlightenment makes strange bedfellows. In a perfect world, meditation would be unnecessary, since many of the seductions, lures and distractions would not exist in that world. I confess that I’m not very good at it, either, perhaps because of the nagging suspicion that I’m wasting time that could otherwise be spent more productively. But I’m improving on that issue, and that’s much of the point, that silence, stillness and ’emptiness’ are a value in and of themselves…

But I don’t think meditation was intended as a metaphysics in and of itself, though, rather a tool and technique first used in Hinduism, and later perfected in Buddhism, to serve the goals of those religions, non-attachment and mind-control. But it’s not a bad starting point for metaphysics, as shown by Eckhardt Tolle and others, in an attempt to reconcile New Age nuances with modern psychology and traditional religion. I wish them good luck. Me, I’ll be looking for the heart of Buddhism, probing and searching; C U there, I hope…

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