On Monday, for the first time, I was able to meditate successfully. It was to this video here. I had been working out to a dance video, which got a little silly. So, I clicked this instead. I’ve never been able to meditate before, in groups or alone. By listening to something or not. I just never thought it could happen to my fairground mind. Most of all, I never thought it would be such an emotional experience. I am almost too scared to meditate again, as I don’t want that beautiful experience of being transported to somewhere else and feeling so still to go away. Yes, I would laugh and roll my eyes at gibberish like this sentence I just wrote, because people who meditate have a propensity to write these types of sentences. I can’t buck the tradition either.
In the semantic sense, we’ve all meditated from time to time. Believe it or not, the calm inducing ( or laughter, in case you’re cynical ) word meditation means the same as the dirty-cheap-politicized inspiration for my blog, opinion. They both mean: to think about something. Because meditation is frequently thought, in modern times anyway, to relax and be free of thought, we try to not think when we meditate. But, even in ancient times, to meditate was to be free of unnecessary concerns to focus on the necessary. It was contemplation, it was thinking. The Sanskrit word ( Sanskrit is the classical Indian language from which many modern languages, such as Hindi, came to be ) for meditation is dhyaan. It means to focus or give your attention to something. Thus, reading or writing can be an act of meditation. When you’re lost in thought over something while commuting on a bus or train, you’re still meditating. Quite simply, when you are single-minded about something, you are meditating.
In fact, there is a collection of writings by Marcus Aurelius called Meditations. Don’t worry, mine aren’t and will never be products of meditative thought. I’m rarely in such states, unless it comes along without my will. Like a song or an album which just pulls me into its world. Or a comedy show. Now, nobody would call Lee Mack trying to write a Christmas card with his foot a tool for meditation, but I hadn’t been as single-mindedly engaged in laughter or anything else recently, up until my successful meditation session.
While I’ve argued in favour of having a multiplicity of thought, why am I suddenly singing praises of meditation? Well, because of the experience that that video brought me. Or brought me back. It’s story of starting from a pier, to hopping on a boat, to going to your desired destination ( for me it was an island of fruit with Kate Bush’s Eat the Music playing in the background ) was synonymous to what I felt reading adventure stories as a child. No one ever told me meditation videos had that! That complete abandon, engagement and glee at being lost in a story is something I haven’t experienced since, no matter what I read. I may seem a little naive to you, but those childish literary experiences are still real to me in many ways. When I am waiting for something particularly challenging in the outside world, I sometimes tell myself, “If Sam and Frodo can make it to Mordor, you can do this!”
As adults, we develop a separate mode for absorbing stories, or art and experiences in general. The analytical, along with the default experiential. I need something like Lee Mack’s silly way of writing Christmas cards, or a meditation video that takes me on a sailboat, because there are so few experiences in life that can remain only in the experiential. We’re so cluttered in our thinking, because it’s rarely that we can safely turn the analytical button off. And that is what meditation is. It’s when you, to quote The Cranberries, “Don’t analyse.”
Do you meditate? How do you feel about it?