This is the world famous Angry Tablecloth, back at your service, and today we will learn how to meditate.
Now if you will, please sit on the floor in lotus position. Relax your muscles. Release the tension from your body, until you feel like a bowl of green gelatin; if you feel like any other colour, you are doing it wrong. Now close your eyes, right this instant, and keep them shut as I instruct you further. Shut them now! Concentrate on your breathing. Slowly inhale deep from the diaphragm, exhaling fully each time. Allow mother Gaia to penetrate your lungs through the air with every breath. Allow her wisdom to permeate your mind, body, and soul. Release your negative energy. Now imagine the majestic dolphin swimming in a deep blue sea. The dolphin is you. The sea is the limitless potential of your infinite being. One day we will communicate with the dolphins. One day, the dolphins will evolve wings where flippers once protruded, and we will ride them gallantly towards the sun, and to our freedom.
Now levitate exactly one foot, four inches off the ground. Any lower demonstrates a lack of focus. Any higher is just showing off. If you are having trouble figuring out this Goldilocks zone, and have a backyard, then there is one sensible solution that comes to mind. Wait until the blades of grass grow a foot and a half high, and then sit outside in the yard, naked. The grass should brush ever so lightly across your ass, as you float around. Fun fact, the first Buddha used to putter around the Bodhi tree in circles, embracing the bristly sensation of grass brushing underneath his garments, along his backside. If you are the bashful type, then standing pieces of construction paper (or any other suitable material) at the required height in a room that is more private will suffice, I suppose, although it is not much of a show for the neighbors.
Now that you have mastered your breathing, and possess the ability to float in the air, we can move on to something more advanced. This next process will allow you to channel beings from the land of the dead. First you will need a can of bright red paint. It is vital that it be bright red, because I say so. Next you will need to gather a minimum of four women from an African village, preferably with little to no contact from the outside world. Women from a primitive tribe deep in the Amazon will do in a pinch, though results may vary. Ensure the women are enthusiastic and well hydrated, because this will take a while. Now paint a circle ten feet in diameter around your living room. If you do not have a living room, or a living room that is carpeted, break into someone else’s house, and use theirs without permission. With the circle in place, have the women chant, “Ma-ooh-nah-ooh-rah-mah-nah.” It is completely meaningless, serving only to create atmosphere, like all spiritual chants. Now slowly shuffle around the circle for ten consecutive hours. Within the tenth hour, you should feel your soul drifting into the spirit realm. You may now notice you are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and violent hallucinations. You might be dizzy with confusion, believing you are only entering the land of the dead, because you are now slowly dying. Do not be fooled, this is a sign the process is working. By now you are communicating with the deceased. The dead have an abundance of insightful knowledge, and wisdom to offer, although they typically just go around scaring the shit out of people.
I do have some other, more practical meditative routines, that I will share in a later post, but for the meantime, let us concentrate on closing the eyes, and clearing the mind of thought, in a more conventional meditation. Here are some hints to help concentrate. As a thought starts to form, imagine it being jettisoned upwards. Whether it is about how you forgot to call your mother, or it is about a spouse being mad at you for being you, visually imagine that narrative nonsense taking off in a stream of sparks. As it reaches the peak of ascent have it explode in a dazzling array of light and colour. Do this swiftly for every arising thought, and you could end up watching a florid fireworks display. In time, with practice, the thoughts will cease, and there will be no need for fireworks, for the thoughts that once needed launching never had the chance to fully form. If this does not work, considering I have only tried it a couple times, and just made it up, a more basic, possibly more effective thought dissolvent is to gently quiet the thoughts that surface. Softly hush them like sleepy babies trying to stir. Do not become frustrated, or aggravated, trying to forcibly silence your thoughts. Calmly allow them to vanish, as if unaffected by their recurring presence. Let them stay, but ask them to leave. I have found that even if they remain in the background, as long as you focus on the forefront, they do disappear. Just practice, and it’ll become easier. Even a couple minutes of meditation every once in a while can have an impact.
As great as traditional meditations may be, I cannot sit cross legged, chanting, “Ohm,” for more than a minute, before the circulation below my knees cuts off. Soon I become more concerned about whether sitting in lotus position is bad for my posture, and the whole idea of being in an empty state of bliss goes to hell.
Whether self actualization is achieved through yoga, sensory deprivation, weird-ass Buddhist chants, a pilgrimage, or autoerotic asphyxiation, there are a handful of qualities that can be of assistance, even more useful than the means they serve to enhance. The first quality being the desire and resolve of a good heart.
People commonly meditate, because they recognize the suffering of this world, or within themselves, because they have good hearts, and wish to find peace from the turmoil this recognition can breed, and/or the resolve to help. They do not succumb to apathy, nihilism, or a numbing vice, and so meditation is a part of a solution, whether this is deliberate, or more instinctual. Sainthood is not mandatory to have the wonders of this reality unfold, but as the marvels creep through, a natural compulsion towards betterment will likely occur. You can’t curse out your grandma, and then sweet talk a tree out of Mother Nature’s secrets.
Another important habit that can pay dividends is paying attention to the simplest things. The systemic power of science is in the presumption of nothing, and a fascination with everything, uncovering a future inconceivable to the present. One man notices the rise of water when he sits in a bathtub, while another man notices an apple falling from a tree, and both men elevate the knowledge of mankind in their “eureka” moments, through straightforward observation. Our beautifully complex minds almost exclusively focus on more complicated issues, requiring the most complex among us to understand the implications involved in the most basic details.
Have you ever walked down a street, and swiftly looked back to see someone behind you, without any indication someone would be there? Have you ever turned your head to a specific point in the sky to behold something conspicuous? Or have you ever thought of something obscure right before someone speaks of it? A coincidence perhaps, but take account of every time one of these supposed coincidences happens, keep an open mind, and you may open the door to a new world of perception, previously overlooked. Have you ever sat outside in a contemplative mood, and noticed the… squiggly lines and dots… the debris on the lens of the eye? You know the black, squiggly lines? If you shift your eyes upwards really fast, the lines follow a split second later, before settling back down. Notice how they are about the closest thing to your eye, and yet they appear to be farther than the eyes dictate. Paying attention to something overlooked since childhood could reveal a new way of seeing. Or it could be that taking notice to something so stupid is a sign of heightened perception, and that noticing such a small detail is a sort of inaugural observation, showing how no detail escapes your sight, not that this has personally happened, ‘cus that’d be nuts. You ever notice the moon sometimes looks like it is sitting behind the sky? Goddamn it. Observing the present moment fortifies the ability to be present minded, clearly.
There are other qualities that can aid, from silence, to appreciation, to honesty, to courage, which all fall under the umbrella of the two aforementioned traits. The one quality surrounding all of these habits is balance. Know when to let go and when to hold on, whether it is a literal action, or a conceptual one. Without balance these characteristics able to lead to a more heavenly state can become hell.
If you have understood what I have written to this point, you are now in the right frame of mind to meditate. If you still do not have the optimal mind state, meditate until you do. But before you float off into space, there are just a couple more words on the matter to share.
It is not meditation in essence that allows a person to develop a higher self-awareness, but the whole hearted desire that enables it to happen. It is not as if an anthropomorphic plume of smoke, named, Meditation, will materialize, and grant this power. A person who practices meditation to appear spiritual acquires nothing, but the superficial appearance of an awakened being, which is transparent to those of real substance. The approach to the most important questions in life is as important as the answers themselves. Develop the commitment, desire, and focus needed, and the rest will follow.
Enlightenment is a concept synonymous with growing up, and behaving accordingly. I pick up the shit when walk the dog, now, and I do not even mind. Each and every day I am becoming less and less of an easily agitated asshole, making the world a better place in my own little way.
Stay tuned. There are many why’s and how’s on this subject to cover, plus a couple of where’s and when’s, for the only who that matters – you, my dear. Until next time.