I’ve started meditating again. It seems like everyone is either almost meditating, feels like they should be meditating, or used to meditate. There was a time in my life when I meditated about every day for 6 months or so, and also went to some local centers to learn more about it. I can still look back on that short time and say that at some point during that six months, I became much less of a jerk to people, and was happier overall. I even felt like I had a basic understanding of the world.
But meditating is a hard habit to stick with.
When I meditate, I do just simple focusing on the breath exercises. I feel like that is harder and harder today, with all the distractions and wanting to check my phone every 20 seconds. My attention span, like Donald Trump’s I guess, is now like 5 seconds long. But unlike Donald, I don’t want to be mad all the time, lashing out at people—or insecure, or a narcissist. I think he’s clearly an unhappy person, who for his happiness relies (like a lot of Instagram celebrities) on what people think about him.
I want to be happy. And I don’t want to be in that situation where I’m 70+ years old and just don’t like myself or respect the people around me at all.
I think in our culture, people are kind of predisposed to dislike themselves. If you have good parents, they can steer you away from that thinking, and so can great friends, teachers, and mentors. But if not, the social values kids see growing up is that you need money, and you need fame, and cool stuff like expensive cars, or shoes, etc. There’s catalogs of all the shit you need. You don’t get the stuff or the status (and most of us don’t) and you feel like 1) it’s your fault, because this is America and 2) you are not very good.
This is all a false, bullshit ideology, of course, but to not believe it, you’ve really got to work hard against the tide to become an unbeliever. Meditating is a way to become a believer in yourself, and your place in a very, very big, interconnected world. It’s a world where you’re not on your own, if you can only see the connections.
Sometimes I even do this thing called compassion meditation, where you picture someone who maybe did you wrong, or who you don’t like. You breathe, and just think good thoughts for them. I’ve pictured Donald Trump the last couple times I did it. I don’t believe that stuff where maybe I can transmit some kind of cosmic energy to him and he’ll feel me and not be such a dick. I’m doing it for me, because compassion takes practice—just like anything else. And if I can find it for Donald, I can find it for anyone.
So that's my good thing for today, and, I hope, for many more days to come.