Friday, August 11, 2017

...but I don't HAVE 20 minutes.

I did something this year, my 61st year, that I’d been mouthing off about for a decade or more now—I got my first tattoo. It’s a lotus flower (the mantra ohm mane padme hum translates loosely as “the jewel [true nature of reality] is in the lotus [mind]), sitting on top of the word satchitananda in Sanskrit, which means truth (sat), consciousness/awareness (chit), bliss (ananda).

Ray’s not a tat fan, but for me, the ink was a way to take possession and ownership of my own body and personhood, apart from my roles: wife, mother, daughter, teacher, etc.

Also, the design itself is a necessary and permanent reminder for me always to return to what’s true. Meditation—the actual subject of this convoluted post—is one way to do that.

Not everyone knows this about me, but I’m pretty tightly wound, not a person who’s good at relaxing. I’m a lot like my two three-year-old granddaughters, who NEVER STOP MOVING. Some part of them (and of me) is perpetually shifting, tapping out a beat, or twitching. That's a LOT of kinetic energy, a LOT of energy down the proverbial drain. So for me, meditation isn’t really about enlightenment—it’s about survival.

Most people know by now that meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, which is the kind I practice, isn’t contemplating one’s navel (and by “practice,” I mean like piano lessons: you do it when your mom makes you, but you’re 13 and you’d rather cut out with your crew to the pool). Meditation is simply slowing down long enough to be AWARE of the present moment, then staying in that awareness as long as you can. I’ve heard it said that living in the past causes regret, living in the future causes anxiety and fear, and only living in the present can bring peace. For me, this rings a big, fat truthiness bell.

Let's set aside the spiritual/psychological good that comes from meditation—that’s too touchy-feely for some folks. There are more tangible, PHYSICAL benefits as well (for these, look here: For an easy meditation how-to, I LOVE this one:

If ever there was a poster child for the most basic physical benefits of meditation, it’s me and my inner three-year-old. And I could reap these benefits in only 20 STINKING MINUTES A DAY. That’s

- 20 minutes of fainting goat or Bob Ross YouTube videos

- 20 minutes of Crackbook posts featuring perfectly-lit photos of my latest kombucha brew

- 20 minutes of blood-pressure-raising, doom-festering, hopelessness-engendering, fist-pounding, Trump-blathering CNN

- 20 minutes of Googling recipes for kale ceviche

- 20 minutes of toenail painting

- 20 minutes of Crackbook comments on other people’s posts about their recent meal/trip/gripe/illness

- 20 minutes of binging Supernatural season what? 24? 25?

Gosh; now that I see this list, it’s clear that (probably a lot like you) I simply don’t have time to meditate. I've got more important things to do. Like get more ink. Twitch. Twitch.