Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The sheer terror of sitting still

If it's Wednesay it must be Morford on meditation and the killing pace of modern life.

Pause and you get eaten. Introspection is for hippies. Ruthlessly forward is the only perspective, the only direction, the only proper attitude.

Self reflection and mindful presence? Calm and OM and inner stillness? Sounds adorable, but holy hell have you seen the pace of the world today? Who has the time? Who has the energy? Who has the patience?

But come on. There’s so much to do! Money to make. Empires to build. Spines to slouch and hoodies to wear and souls to crush. This is America. Work is all there is. Well, work, and the Internet. And porn. And global warming. And artisan cocktails. Eat or get eaten, sucker.

“If every 8-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world in one generation – Dalai Lama

Wait, what? Who let that guy in here? Doesn’t matter what he says; for most Americans, stillness is… how to put this honestly? Terrifying. Deep, even momentary quiet freaks people out. The hardest thing anyone can ever do in our culture is sit still for a moment. The demons! The memories! Voices! Kids! Video games! The guilt and the doubts and the FOMO, all hammering down on you like a cold rain made of fear and capitalism and shame. And it’s only been… 27 seconds. Meditation is hard.

The thing is, the scientific studies, the articles I read about meditation (and yoga, and the “simple” life) in mainstream media, they get it sort of wrong. Most scientists and western docs talk about it as though it were akin to working out, exercising your “concentration muscle” or maybe “mindfulness training,” as though the whole point is to help you be calm and sit still longer so you can better work your ass off at a job you hate for people who don’t deserve it in a world that doesn’t give a crap anyway. You get to keep on with your miserable, flabby, hardscrabble life – you just won’t mind as much.

What meditation et al really bring, if you go into them, is ultimate arrival to a place where you realize all that striving and goal-setting and money and racing around is sort of ridiculous, and fruitless, and will kill you, and is not the slightest bit necessary, and sure you can play with those energies all you like, but if you don’t see it for what it all is – a dance, a grand illusion, a hollow and misleading truth, signifying nothing – you will die numb and pale and miserable and never know why. And what sort of enlightenment is that?
I realized all that many years ago without ever actually "meditating". Hey, whatever works. Point is, live your life the way you want. Om out.

1 comment:

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I was so accustomed to the ratrace pace that I had to exercise myself to being to exhausted to move to get to the quiet .... but oh, it only took a few times. Now, fuck ALL that noise.