defining meditation06 Nov 2019
meditation: the practice of being interrupted
this personal definition is a intentionally a little funny, but it lately has felt super resonant! i think there is this bizarre, maybe even hegemonic framing of meditation happening today. i think it’s partly because of the whiteness and capitalist stance the insight meditation society has taken, but in any case i keep hearing people talk about meditation with these phrases:
- i can’t do it right
- i’m too distracted to meditate
- i don’t have enough money to go on a retreat so i can’t start meditating until then
so much of those statements is antithetical to meditation as i understand it. for me, meditation is actually to help one deal with all those thoughts and beyond!
in my experience and learning, meditation is:
- try to focus on something (aka an anchor like my breathe, a sound, my body, a word, a mantra)
- notice something has interrupted my focus on that anchor
- pay attention to what it is that interrupted my focus (it could be an internal interruption (aka a thought) or an external one (a voice, noise, change in my environment, whatever)
- decide what to do with that thought (come back to it, release it, stay with it, etc.)
- return my focus to my original anchor
and what i’m doing is training my mind to notice that it’s not on the original anchor and returning to it. that’s what has worked for me and is mostly how i practice today.
i also want to add that a new connection, elizabeth of the emergent dialogue practice, said in a retreat back in october that meditation is the practice of letting go. i love that and, in many ways, it feels parallel (and more elegant) than my somewhat joking and crude definition.
ok, enough for now! ciao.
ps - i realize this is probably (a) a mash-up of several traditions and (b) sounding authoritative but it’s not. it’s just my experience of it.
words / writing / post-processing
331w / 10min / 5min