HOW I MEDITATE

I have a hard time meditating. Sitting still and NOT thinking isn’t easy for me. After halfheartedly attempting meditation for a month, I was told that I was ”doing it wrong,” thinking only about money or dinner or boobs.

But I found that “the style” that worked for some, didn’t always make me comfortable or give me the benefits I was looking for. So I decided to break it down in a way that I could relate to in hopes of sticking to the practice and maximizing it for myself.

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There is the theory of metric expansion, the theory saying the universe and the space between celestial bodies has been expanding since the beginning of, well, the universe. If this is true then that same “star stuff” we are made of is running wider and wider on the fringes of the universe. According to some even, parts of you and me that we have no notion of are circulating on the fringes of the universe.

Apply this to living. Your universe is constantly expanding. Of course, things like your social network or knowledge on a specific subject. These are deliberate extensions of yourself and your effort. They should be expanding outward and you should be acting to expand them.

But your thinking, your reactions, your actions also expand your universe and interact within it. Whether you mean them to or not, these aspects of existence change your universe daily. This is not necessarily a breakthrough notion, but it is important to understand. 

Now, how many thoughts do we have in a single day? How many seconds do we feel impatient? How many people wearing our favorite color do we see? These incalculable micro facets of life are on the fringes of our personal universes, rushing this direction or that direction, speeding off so exponentially fast we lose track of them. They’re splashed like paint on a canvas with no symmetry or consistent rate of expansion.  

(Think, how did that one thought about Kix Cereal grow into a web of thoughts and ideas and memories that changed your whole day or even week. No need to follow the chain, but realize it is there. For actions and reactions just as for thoughts.)  

That is the precondition I imagine before meditating; a multicolored canvas of everything we think, do, and feel stretching infinitely.

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With each inhalation I shrink that splash a little. IN…work. IN…family. IN…patience. IN…attitude. IN…anything that flashes by. This may be seen as reflecting more than meditation, but I don’t sit on these ideas. I just store them. 

Before long, I stop that thinking and picture everything in my life that I have been, seen, or caused directly or indirectly to be combined within a single sphere. It is like the beginning of my universe. It is a reset. 

And I keep it there. 

Only after I’m finished does that egg crack and things rush out again. But they rush out slowly. Things are controlled under a consistent rate of expansion that I allow.

That’s how I’ve been approaching meditation. I’m curious to hear from others. 

      

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Dali, Yunnan. Hours from any major city its set between Erhai Lake and the Cangshan Mountain chain. With its strategic location, it was once a key military site hundreds of years ago. It made a perfect home base for my China trip.

Thankfully the city retains much of its medieval charm, not yet giving itself irredeemably away to tourism. I hope to go back and find it just as I left it.