MEDITATION (a prose poem; from the 6/25/20 draft)

The Power of the Figurative

Listening to Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace app (as if crucial to escaping the pollution of thoughts and feelings that wrap me in an excessively humid trap) as he…. guides… us beginner listeners (theoretically, as these particular recordings are designed for beginners, but I don’t know who happens to listen to them and right now I’m not wondering about it)…as he guides us in learning meditation/mindfulness[1] and….compares… thoughts and feelings to clouds (and my, how those clouds get loud as they crowd my mind)… and compares the blue sky above and beyond them as…. a “quiet confidence”… (as if it waves a wand and intensifies one’s bond with it) and suddenly… the power of…figurative analogy…. (as such)… concretizing abstractions, like Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville whose skill brought phonautograms to us, like Thomas Edison’s invention– tinfoil metal cylinders– and Emile Berliner’s disc record’s—how they brought a big bang of changing expanding sounds–

–(listening to the voices of those who sang over a century ago– how ghostly and eerie to hear…well, any sort of media recording…a picture, sound, video, a text, becomes, for the next generations of collective social consciousness… quite like time machines taking us back to some aspect of previous scenes—you can perceive but… you can’t quite relive, it remains, essentially, figurative…)– 

Purifying Thunderstorms of a Personal Renaissance

–Gently now Puddicombe’s voice ushers my mentality from the loud, loud noise, as I sit, sometimes on my couch, sometimes on my bed, feeling the presence of my body from the top of my head to my toes trying not to get so nervous over noting my physicality and breaths–

–(makes me think too much about death…what if somehow both my consciousness and unconscious forget to keep breathing[2]? Not that the body does this—breathing is more directly “automatic” but overly dramatic paranoid nightmare what-ifs can twist consciousness into such irrational snowdrifts…)–

–and I despise thinking about inevitable death, driving past cemeteries, perhaps forever sedentary and sedimentary… but let us carry on now before I scare myself even more.

Meditation reminds me: thoughts, feelings, and associations need not be so involuntary nor must one’s consciousness necessarily attach to any particular thought, feeling, or association.

And apparently… evidence … does find exercises like meditation/mindfulness and visualization can “train the mind,” (and/or the brain’s neuroplasticity)…

…(seemingly invisible the “mind” ((or the brain’s myth of a “mind?”)) is and yet possesses a sense of weight lifting muscles and, as if an imitation ((though clearly so, and blatantly imagined)) of a deity’s mathematical paintings, which the deity told, as Captain Picard told “Number One”: “make it so”)

…and reduce stress… along with other possible “health benefits.”

Meditation is still new to me, like the moonlight is to forming nighttime dew or sunlight to a morning dew. My meditation routine began with ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night. I didn’t think I could keep myself upright and still for a whole ten minutes—my mind and body can often persist hyperactively like tree and bush leaves in a windy storm but open to reform I managed to keep upright and still for twenty minutes.

(But how many minutes should I meditate for?[3] Keeping in mind it’s not a chore…Andy Puddicombe says:

“It’s best to approach meditation much like anything else in life: start small, build up slowly and find your own personal sweet spot. For some people, this sweet spot is 10 minutes and for others, it’s 60 minutes.”

-Andy Puddicombe

Though he says one point in his training required “eighteen hours of meditation every day and just three hours or so for sleep.”[4] How curiously rewired I imagine the mind must become. Tired? Inspired like Buddha? Like the rich yield of an autumn harvest after an unusually monsoon-like summer ((with the most beautiful, almost orgasmically– or more than orgasmically– purifying thunderstorms supplying new clarifying norms!))?      

…  


[1] What is the difference between “meditation” and “mindfulness?” Puddicombe explains his perspective this way:

“When a few progressive Western doctors tried to introduce meditation into mainstream healthcare more than thirty years ago, they were pretty much laughed out of the hospital they worked in. Not to be deterred, they changed the name to “mindfulness” and continued with their research… Mindfulness means to be present, in the moment, undistracted. It implies resting the mind in its natural state of awareness, which is free of any bias or judgement… it means being ‘in the moment,” experiencing life directly as it unfolds, rather than being distracted, caught up and lost in thought…Meditation is simply a technique to provide you with the optimum conditions for practicing the skill of mindfulness (from the book The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe, pages 18-19 and 22, St. Martin’s Press ebook; St. Martin’s Griffin, New York)

[2] Sometimes it feels good not to be “the only one.” As Bob Dylan puts it:

“I would not feel so all alone

Everybody must get stoned”

-Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

“One person (a)  told MNT [Medical News Today]: ‘I’ve tried several meditation apps and videos, as well as tried to meditate with a person in real life, and every time the problem is the same — when asked to focus on my own breath, I get very anxious.

“ ‘Because focusing on my physiological states is often the source of my anxiety, [it] gets me spinning because I start wondering if my states are ‘normal’ […] Like, is my breathing normal or am I having a breathing problem? Does my chest hurt or am I having a heart attack?’ she explained.

Another person [emphasis mine] told us, ‘Meditation makes me hypersensitive to everything — like sounds and movements — and it stresses me out!’”

  • A kind of strange phrasing for such a generally credible publication. Who is this “one person” and why is this “one person” not identified. I understand of course keeping a source anonymous when it puts this source at some significant sort of risk like losing a job or if there’s reason to suppose there’s a credible threat to their lives but I cannot imagine why this would be the case about this “one person.” While I find the quote relatable, the way it is written lacks credibility and alas, makes me feel slightly more alone…   

[3] (“What’s the right amount of time to meditate?” by Andy Puddicombe; https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/05/29/right-amount-meditation/ ; date accessed: June 19, 2020)

[4] (from the book The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe, page 38; St. Martin’s Press ebook; St. Martin’s Griffin, New York)

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