Meditation, quit eluding me! Me, quit eluding meditation!

August 23, 2006 at 11:44 am (Bloom Status: Sideways, Bloom Status: Upward)

Oh, my god. I know. I know! I know I’m supposed to be doing it. I want to be doing it. I mean, if there’s one thing in the world to be doing, that’s it. What is it, what’s the quote, something about the world rolling at your feet….?……ah, well. Can’t find the quote. But I know that meditation is the ultimate enchanted magic chip that we all have in our pocket, and I can’t get myself to cash it in.

fear not buddha

I’m afraid of it! I’m afraid of meditation! Hello, up there, Buddha in the Fear Not position. So, listen. I’m going to grab a flashlight and march into the cave where my fear is, and I’m going to examine it. I’m going to chronicle the shit out of it. I hope to suck all the power out of it, and leave it sitting there blinking lamely in its chair.

(Yes. It’s in a cave sitting in a chair. Or it’s in a cave stalking around near a chair.)

(Hey! What if that were a past life memory?! What if I were afraid of meditation because in a past life I was doing it in a cave and some tiger came in there and stalked around and ate me?! Huh?!?! No wonder I’m afraid of it. I was eaten by a tiger. And then he didn’t sit down.)

Anyway. So, here in this life in Seattle, meditation freaks me out. I know I’m not alone in this. I sit down, and immediately I feel vulnerable. If my eyes are closed, I feel like someone’s going to sneak up behind me and stab me in the back. So I open them a little, and focus on one point like a candle or a pebble or a spot on the floor. Okay. I’m all right. Maybe I’m saying my mantra. (I got a mantra from Ammachi a few years ago. In another post I’ll talk about Ammachi and tell you all about my relationship with her.) After a while, I’ll start feeling some sensations. Like some energy around my head, or, I don’t know, just some different sensations. (Wow, Tina. What a pointillist picture you’re painting for us here. The specificity is dizzying.)

The sensations! That’s one thing. They make me jumpy. I’m afraid I’m going to start flying around the room or something. Or that I’ll disappear or….die or something. (Read this blog long enough and you will know that you are keeping company with quite the chickenshit.) Also, my grandmother was a famous clairvoyant, and I get tweaked out that the sensations are the embryonic herald of some abilities that I’m not sure if I want. I used to go to sleep at night when I was a young girl, and say out to the ether, “I don’t want to see anything….please don’t let me see anything…I would appreciate it if I could just go to sleep without seeing anything, thank you….” And I didn’t, so that worked!

Okay, so there are the immediate fears about any given meditation session: that I’m going to fly around the room and die, get stabbed in the back or see freaky, needy monster beings with my third eye.

But then there are the long term fears about meditation. These are maybe the most potent ones. Fears of actualization. Brrrrr! So, this is what my fear imagines. I’m a regular meditator, I’ve been doing it for years. I fly around the room meditating, eluding death, seeing weird monsters and not minding. And I get really powerful! I’m powerfully calm in the face of the most egregious crisis. I could be walking through a 9.7 magnitude earthquake and simultaneously getting mugged at knifepoint, and I’m like, eh. No biggie. I got this one. So then these egregious crises start getting all cocky and testing me all the time! I attract them! I go from flood to serial killer to crumbling building to hostage situation, because the universe is trying to top itself! I’m like one of those guards at Buckingham Palace that nobody can make laugh, only it’s not tourists, it’s the universe, and it’s not trying to make me laugh, it’s trying to scare the shit out of me.

Okay. So that’s one thing. That’s one problem.

And then, there’s my insides. I’m so kind! I’m so kindhearted and loving and compassionate that I can’t contain myself! I’m wide and diffuse and dense (yes, both) with overwhelming kindness. I’m a giant eye roaming the earth, welling up. I am unable to turn away from anyone’s pain or anyone’s beauty. But instead of breaking down, I just get bigger all the time to contain it. So I’m too huge! I get vertigo just opening my eyes!

So, as you can see, my fears are extremely realistic. Is that all of them? Um, let’s see. Well, there’s some vague stuff about what if I meditate so much that all the above things come true and I totally finish the curriculum of the Earth? Then I’ll have to switch schools. Switching schools is scary! I don’t even know what high school I’ll be sent to. Oh, man, I’m going to have to compliment myself on that analogy. For if this Earth is not a giant junior high, I don’t know what is.

So, I think what I need to do is maybe underestimate the power of meditation. I need to perhaps get the thought in my head that meditation will make me a touch calmer, a drop wiser, a skosh braver. (My fear is yelling already at that, TIP OF THE ICEBERG, TINA!)

Okay, JESUS, so, what, then? What then, fear?

Fear: Ha ha! Don’t meditate! Renew your subscription to Us Weekly!

That’s the question, now. How do you work with fear? What’s the way to do it? Maybe I can enlist fear to think about what could happen to me if I don’t meditate. Maybe I can make a freaky picture there. Give fear something new to avoid.

Maybe if I don’t meditate, I will live more and more in a world where George W. Bush is the president, and I will become more and more the sort of person who would vote for him. Maybe if I made the commitment to not meditating, my world would grow increasingly plastic and violent and deadened and meaningless. Maybe my eyes would get dim and I would start befriending people with dim eyes and bad senses of humor and vicious mean streaks. Maybe I’d get lost in a stinky, jingling, polluted video game maze where everyone’s eyes are on the opposite of the prize.

All righty. There’s that.

And then there’s the best way to attract myself to something, which is to disguise anything as a spa visit. I love nothing more than a spa. If I can convince myself that meditation is more of a spa treatment than slow-acting spiritual TNT, I might be able to get into that. Not that I’m opposed to spiritual TNT. In theory, I love the concept. But I’m working with a big old chickenshit, here, so I need to get realistic and sneaky. I’m like a giant child whose vegetables need to be hidden in a large pile of macaroni and cheese or cut into nonthreatening shapes like bunnies and daffodils. If I can successfully equate meditation with hot stone massage, I might be golden.

baby meditating

Well, at least I’m thinking about it. At least I’m talking about it. I’ll let you know if I ever actually do it.

Today: Wrote about meditation, examined fears.

Ergo, bloom status: Sidewaysupwards. Sidewupwards. Diagonal.


  1. Heidi said,

    My big fear about meditation is that I’ll realize how fundamentally without a grand point everything is. That all that will come of it is that I’ll just maybe be a little more grounded and slightly more calm as I continue to inch inevitably toward death. The inevitably inching part being the thing that NOTHING I EVER DO IS GOING TO CHANGE. And I will just have to sit and face that AND NOT MOVE. ugh.

  2. flamingbanjo said,

    My internal dialogue upon meditating, approximately:
    “Alright, now we’re sitting down to meditate, just like we keep promising we’ll do, we’re finally rolling up our sleeves and getting down to the business of doing some serious nothing!”
    “Who’s ‘we’? Isn’t it just me in here?”
    “Shut up, you! We’re letting go of conscious thought now.”
    “Sorry. I’ll stop. Stopping now. Here I go a-stoppin. ”
    “That’s better. We’ll never reach perfect bliss with you yakking all the..”
    “Hey! Both of you! Keep it down!”
    “Alright then. That’s more like it.”
    “Hey, did you hear that? Nothing! That was a moment of pure nothing! I’m really doing it! I”m meditating!”
    “Well, you were until just now.”
    “Oh, right, sorry. Man, it’s crowded in here. Where was I…”
    “There it was again! Oh, man enlightenment here I come! I wonder if I’ll get magic powers?”
    “My nose itches.”

  3. pete said,

    You know, I quit sitting meditation and instead try meditating all the time. It’s a lot less intense than formal meditation so I don’t see auras or have past life experiences, but I’m able to stay present… I used to have a lot of anxiety about sitting meditation…So who needs it? The important thing for me is “what is my relationship to this moment?” I ask myself that question a couple hundred times a day–that’s my meditation.

  4. pete said,

    actually, i probaby only say that to myself, hmm, fifty times a day. just to clarify…

  5. Courtney said,

    There is nothing to fear in the unkown and that is where you are going when you do nothing. Our minds run ceaselessly yet we the ability to allow the stream of thoughts to slow and stop. The ability to be. The ability to meditate.
    Thing is, we are so accustomed to our habit of thinking that we wonder if we will disappear if we stop. Of course, what actually happens when you allow space to enter your life, that is some silence in between the thoughts, which progresses into a silent mind, a meditative mind…what happens is we find our true selves above and beyond our thoughts. That thing that has always been there. What is that thing? Our innate Love. That is what we are made of, Love.

  6. B. said,

    Heidi, Heidi, Heidi, Heidi,

    I’ve never heard anyone say that fear before. I did that. It was true. I didn’t have that fear when I started meditating. I trusted. Then I had a sickening, startling experience of ceasing to exist and then many months of terror about ceasing to exist after I die. Now, I try not to think about it.

    Did I just not meditate long enough to get to Courtney’s promise? Courtney, did you actually experience your true self as LOVE, or did you just read that some where?

    I hope you experienced that. I would like my experience not to be my last experiential memory about existence.

  7. Tristan said,

    This is perhaps a great problem promising yogis in the west face, intellectual imbalance. When you read or learn, intellectually, too much information your head grows large while the rest of your body stays small. Gurus might teach their disciples in silence, merely being present at their side in meditation. In the west we learn from gurus through the sense, and so powerful is what we learn (about meditation) that it actually disturbs our peace and ability to meditate!

    Taoism may be a peaceable force to negotiate fear with. Taoism is surrender, without technique. And without technique fear has no substance to invade within. Sometimes the process of meditation and our understanding of soul liberation is so tainted with ignorance/illusion that even our clearest meditations and intuitive/intellectual/physical experiences are misleading.

    The bottom line is persistence and determination. If you greet fear, and whatever other problems you have before meditation, with indestructible persistence and determination, even during your suffering and failures you will understand the inevitable promise of salvation. Intellectualizing the problems can often make it worse. A helpful cure is often surrender. Peace. Aum.

  8. games said,

    That baby looks so cute meditating 🙂 meditation is good to cure stress

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