Meditation Is Not For All Of Us

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I’ve always believed that since we’re all different it’s only natural that we like different things, but I also believe there’s a natural overlap among us, and when someone says he hates something other people seem to love, he may be missing out on a good thing. For example, for many years you could not have gotten me to watch a basketball game, and Lolly seemed to feel the same way. But one day we happened to watch a Suns game and...

You guessed it. Big fans! 

So these days when I run across something I’ve never done before I’m always willing to take a look at it. However, something I ran across a few days ago has me completely baffled.

I was scanning the news for something interesting for the Roundup online forum I do when I came across this headline on some site: “Meditation May Reduce Inflammation.” The report mentioned a study of meditation where people who had never meditated did “quiet, non-meditative activities” all day while experienced meditators meditated. The results showed “reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes” in the meditators. 

“Huh?” I said.

I say that a lot.

What I knew about meditation you could write on a postage stamp, so I looked it up, wondering just how you do it, but I ended up more confused than I started. First there was the definition: “The goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness....”

Whoops! Someone must have different meanings for “quiet your mind” and “higher level of awareness” than the ones I use. To me, “quieting my mind” means leaning back, relaxing, and putting aside worldly cares, but having a “higher level of awareness” means jamming every sense into high gear, ready to respond to a world which is out to get you. 

Know what I mean? Like advice to “be aware of your surroundings”?

Anyway, I read the instructions, wading through pages of how-to stuff.

Part 1. Getting ready.

“Choose a peaceful environment,” it said. 

Ah, yes. I’m for that.

“Even a walk-in closet,” it added.

Sorry, ain’t nothin’ peaceful about our closet. One more hanger and it’ll explode. How about my recliner out in the front room?

“Wear loose clothing.”

That’s easy! I bought all my clothes when I weighed 25 pounds more.

“Be sure to remove your shoes.” 

Huh? And have to put them back on? Why can’t I relax in my Reeboks?

“Decide how long you want to meditate.”

How do I know how long to do this stuff? That’s what I’m asking you.

“Do a couple of minutes of light stretching exercises.”

What? I do that before I go to bed. It tires me out and I go right to sleep.

“Choose a posture that allows you to be balanced tall and straight.”

Are you nuts! How do I sit tall and straight in a recliner?

“Close your eyes.”

Gotcha! 

Score: Three right out of eight. Hmm. Not too good.

Part 2: Meditating.

“Pick a spot above your navel and focus on that spot.”

What? And break my neck?

“Repeat a mantra.”

Tell me how to do this stuff. Tell me how to do this stuff. Tell me how....

“Do the heart chakra. Put your right hand over your heart....”

Whoops! Let’s leave my 81-year-old heart out of this.

“Close your eyes and make a conscious effort to relax each body part.”

Too much effort. I’m trying to relax, remember? Geez!

Score: Zero for four.

Part 3: Meditation in everyday life.

At this point I stopped, went back and re-read the other stuff  — with no better luck than the first time. So on I read.... 

“In moments of stress, focus on your breathing and empty your mind of negative thoughts or emotions.”

Like this? “No need to run from that grizzly. He looks friendly.”

“Follow a healthy lifestyle.”

As, for example, running like hell when a grizzly shows up?

“Read spiritual books.”

Books, I read. All the time.

“Understand that meditation is a journey. The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind, achieve inner peace and, eventually, reach a higher spiritual dimension, often referred to simply as being.”

As far as I can tell, just “being” is what a roach does — until I spot him.

Score: One for four. Total score: Four out of 16. 

Oh, well. I guess I’ll just go out in our little front room, lean back in my recliner in a nice soft sweater, close my eyes, think a little, and let the day’s worries fade away into the blue. Later, when I wake up — Reeboks and all — I’ll read something interesting.

Boy! Four out of 16. Some test score! That’s lower than whale manure, which in case you don’t know it is on the bottom of the ocean.

Sorry, Johnny. A meditator I will never be.

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