Yesterday, after trying out the aforementioned meditation exercises, I realized what the hell was going on with my attitude.
Drama is something I have for many years decried as incredibly dangerous to my well-being. And I’ve been right about that for the most part. But in making the attempt to change my attitude through meditation, I found something undeniable: I was focused on the emotions of my attitude, the drama I was creating. There was the problem. I could not focus.
So here I was, all those alarms going off, feeling that crazy pressure in my chest, unable to think or to make sense as to just why there was so much frenzy going on in my brain. When those alarms go off, I pay attention. And therein is the problem: on what exactly am I supposed to focus my attention? Can I identify the real issue that’s in play because at times it’s very hard to know what that issue might be.
When I did the ten-minute meditation, I could hear all that buzzing in my brain, and that’s about all I could hear. But as the meditation progressed, I began to understand something fundamentally important about myself: I don’t like silence.
Inside my head, there’s this guy. Twirling, Whirling Dervish guy. He likes nothing better than to spin around all day long in a dress. OK, maybe I don’t care so much to wear a dress, but I think he’s in there nonetheless. And he likes that crazy flute music, that blaringly loud flute music that gets in your head and drives you nuts.
After about four minutes into the meditation, I found myself turning my attention away from the dervish guy and instead found myself asking my inner Geisha, Where’s my Zen?
I kept moving from hearing the din of shamisen and flute, of dancing Dervishes and Geisha to the unexpected silence that really did exist in that zany noggin of mine, but it was unfortunate that the blessed silence lasted for approximately one picosecond and then it was back to the incessant noise and clatter that is the inside of the thing I claim to be a cranium.
Stewie’s right. Sometimes I do feel like a monstrosity. But when I’m driven to find a thing, I’m driven. Finding that thing isn’t always possible. And yesterday, that was the case, I just could not find my Zen. There was no quiet to be had. That didn’t mean that I was not doing my best; it means that, however hopeless that achieving that quiet might be, I’m not going to give up so easily,
And then …
The funny thing about Sith Lords, they can use their powers of persuasion on others, and if ever I was under the spell of a Sith it was yesterday. No matter how hard I tried, I would hear Darth Stewie’s voice telling me, These aren’t the meditations you’re looking for. Since I am particularly gullible when it comes to Sith persuasion, I listened to Darth Stewie and gave up the meditation.
Oh, well. I thought that I was just not ready for meditation. I had told my therapist that I would more than likely have this problem and there it was. I had anticipated the problem.
I had manufactured the problem.
Once I had that realization — that I was allowing that attitude to control the outcome of my meditation session — I knew what I had to do. And being the driven creature that I am, I immediately opened the 10-minute session file and made another attempt, a more involved and genuine attempt and this time I actually had a different and better result. I made it through the session. I followed the directions and made a little progress.
Gradually I was beginning to understand why internal noise means there’s stress buried deep within. When you have nothing but noise in that brain, isn’t that a form of evasion? Evasion of exploring thinking, rational and deep thinking? Do I confuse intelligence with emotional thinking? Are those things mutually exclusive?
Listen And I Shall Play That Song In Your Head Again and Again
There’s something to be said about silence. It does strange things and frankly, it’s somewhat disturbing and frightening to me. But isn’t silence necessary in order to focus?
Well, no, not really. It helps. But if you listen to someone playing a shamisen, it’s one note at a time. And that kind of playing isn’t noise. It’s amazing concentration to play a single perfect note rather than strum power chords on a blisteringly distorted guitar. Of course, traditional Japanese music isn’t necessarily beautiful to the Western ear, but believe me when I tell you it is many years of training to perfect the art of playing a shamisen.
If I have this right, then it’s the concentration on the note that’s critical. Or, in these meditation exercise, it’s the concentration on breathing, or concentrating on the moment that’s critical to entering a state of quiet.
A state of quiet. Not necessarily the absence of sound, but a state of quiet.
I think I get it now. Learning to focus is the primary lesson. And if you’re one of a million starfish that can’t seen to get it, then exclude everything. Exclude the motion of the waves. Forget about your million feelers on your five legs and just cling to the rock.
I never cared for psychological simplicity. As it turns out, that’s kind of a key to learning how to center yourself and decrease stress: get simple. And nothing could be simpler than quieting yourself down, refocusing your energies and enjoying that zen cupcake afterwards as your reward.
Oh, yes, so very simple, NOT.
It’s not all that easy for me, anyway. But I’m going to learn how to do it because I need to get away from the complexity of the Geisha, the madness of the Dervish and anyone or anything else whose noise is infecting my brain so that I can’t make progress with meditation.
Mmmm. Progress tastes amazingly good and rather like chocolaty wonderfulness.