Meditation

There isn’t much emotion in this piece, it’s just an attempt to notate my immediate thoughts after trying out some Buddhist meditation. Yes, I’m a monster, and I’m cool with that.

This stuff – meditation and, I figure, and exercise – running – seems to help other aspects of life, enormously. I remember living – by chance – at a transcendental meditation centre in Brighton for a few months but remaining resolutely ignorant as to whatever the hell it was they were doing, as they didn’t seem weird to me – rather, dull… so I couldn’t be less interested.

But one of the things they said was – you don’t get better at living by living – just like a knife doesn’t get better at cutting by cutting – you have to take both off somewhere remote and sharpen them, to improve… Fair point, I remember thinking, as they attempted to aid me – but you people are interminable and do nothing to help others, whatsoever. God knows what I was trying to do to help others at the time… I think I was labouring under the delusion that being a radio presenter kept lonely people company, when it was probably only me who felt the benefit…

Meditation though – it keeps jabbing every one of us in the ribs and I always treated it the way other people do, veganism – something I knew I should be doing but just didn’t really want to. It was only when a monk-friend told me what it’s like to glimpse another level of consciousness that I thought about giving it a go. “Becoming aware of being aware” – he said, is the altered state you get to seeing after some practice. Now this to me is a rather jolting and unpleasant sensation I’ve been having every few weeks since I was about 5 – it sneaks up on me sometimes when I’m looking in the mirror. Behind those eyes, is what I’m seeing now – fuck, fuck, fuck – go back to normal… GO BACK TO NORMAL…

I ask other people if they get it and about a quarter know what I’m talking about – you suddenly become an It, all skin texture and hair and respiration and for a second you’re awake to the fact this is very much a role, and an unusual one for you at that… whatever you are… Then it fades away into the background, like a dream… and once more, you’re your body again. The shock and surprise is similar to how you’d react to BigFoot suddenly appearing beside you on the bus.

So if that’s actually a desirable state, I reasoned, from whence some peace can be claimed, perhaps I should give it a shot!! I started by trying to induce the mirror feeling at will, using the mirror at first – to feel the character of this sensation when you stop looking and instead close your eyes. The trouble with that is, as soon as you manage to make yourself become an It – closing your eyes to experience the feeling in a different way becomes so completely irrelevant, given that you’re now in the grip of something akin to an out of mind experience – that “you” – in a way – can’t be arsed to do it… in that moment you can’t imagine what on Earth the point is – you’re temporarily an actress playing you, and so NOT you… so why would you be sufficiently invested in the character to blink?

Yeah, anyway, I find it much more challenging to get to this, in a state of closed eye meditation, but I see flashes of it as time goes on. And the meditation is proving so useful to my kind of mind, because it quietens down the chatter and during the rest of the day, allows for easier tuning into reality. Harry Potter of Spiritualism, Eckhart Tolle – bangs on about the Itness of things (or something similar) but I’m not convinced he describes what the fuck he means when he says it. The Itness of things is the broadcast you’re trying to tune into…

It’s essentially a quality of relevance to your being – that resides in all matter. When you’re high on psychedelics a common theme is seeing eyes and writing appearing on all surfaces – and essentially that’s a symbolic relation, when you’re in the initial stages of ascension that consciousness and meaning pervades all things. If you go further, this starts feeling like love and literal connectedness, so the symbols aren’t necessary at that stage, you’re actually feeling it. What’s beyond there, I don’t know, I’m not brave enough to go…

What a human’s hormones do is to massively steward the person into appropriate behaviour to benefit their genetic survival. The way they do that is to switch off the Itness of most things, APART from that which is relevant to what they need you to do. When you’re young, they make your parents seem like Gods to you, and everything that doesn’t ensure their attention is made to seem irrelevant. Then at adolescence, their views are switched to irrelevant and your hormones bring your peer group to the foreground. There’s the sexual signalling to fancy anyone who’s about right when you’re young, then another stage where you only fall for people brilliant enough to knock you over – a miserable condition, given that there are few enough of these that if you’re true to yourself and can’t reach one, you may find yourself alone. But when you’re doing as the hormones want you to, they unclamp on reality a bit, and the Itness of objects shines through again – you feel “at home” in your life then…

So the point is – you often find yourself “on the outside” of reality, because your hormones are goading you to strive for what they want you to do – when chance, luck or society sometimes makes that impossible. The resident Itness of things, the meaning that’s emboldened when you’re happily in love – that’s now greyed out to you – you’re not allowed to be content sitting in a fucking plastic chair at Paddington fucking station, mate – you should be chatting up men, you fucking idiot!! And of course I would if there was a steady supply of brilliant ones, but there isn’t, so I need to tune into this branch of W H Smith and get anchored on the 14:45 to Southall fucking Station. OK? Other women my age get it with babies – I had that for a few weeks some years ago – Jesus, let me not go there again, what tearful, hormonal misery. Men have it at adolescence and then again sometime after their first batch of children. None of us may want what we’re being pushed into, intellectually – but the hormones always put genetic needs before those of the individual – and it’s if you don’t know what they’re doing, and everything you see, suddenly becomes greyed out – you actually feel a bit like you’ve already died.

This is where spirituality falls a little bit short I think – in shaming people who can’t feel better about whatever hardship they’re facing – bereavement, identity crises, trauma… We understand, life is so unstable, that the ideal is to get a baseline of equanimity from which we can face upset with will and strength – we just don’t always recognise the shape of the weapon assaulting us and we need to to know what we’re going to do about it…

Now after Short Story 1 – I gradually realised that since modernity often entraps people in unhappy situations, you really have to curate your own gallery of meaning where YOU want to find it, and pull it out and into yourself – I wasn’t sure how, but it seemed something a bit LIKE meditation was the way to do it. A stilling of the mind and mental grasping onto surfaces. Sometimes it seems like an actual broadcast of relevance into laminate floors and window frames and bookshelves… other times it seems a surrender into a background stillness that can then rise up to claim you…

Love does it the best, like a swaddling of cotton wool… but it would, wouldn’t it – that’s what they’re trying to get you to do… Grab it when it shows up…

Where relevance does pierce the masking tape, ideally reach out to it with complete transparency, so that if it doesn’t reach back, you at least knew you did your best… Because this, reminds me again of what another Brighton residence, this one full of Occultists, was trying to point out, as I steadfastly ignored them – that the will is a tool that operates on more levels than we’re aware of – it’s important to exercise the power you have, and not give in to fear or resignation – since that’s clearly not a strategy rewarded by life as we know it. I remember my dad telling me, when I was having nightmares as a youngster – just hit any demons you see, and they turn to dust – as though this was a standard procedure all adults knew about. Strangely, though that worked as he said it would! Occultists tell you that if you encounter any entities, the best you can do is be firm with them – they respect that. I haven’t so far, other than those of my own creation – anxiety, fear, depression – but it turns out, the same approach is possible and required with these too… They got no respect for wusses.

Meditation it seems, though you feel like you’re achieving nothing when you’re doing it – must sharpen your focus so that when you try to tune into reality, you find you suddenly can. I don’t suppose any of this is necessary for people who operate from a more instinctive, less overbaked place… But then… look at them…  they don’t have the answers – meanwhile outside all this, Nature Loves Courage.