For someone who’s never meditated before, I sure have been mouthing off about it recently. Not mouthing off in a disparaging way, mouthing off like meditation is something that I’m REALLY into, reading about it, talking about it, recommending it to friends and family. Listen, if meditation is half as transformative for them as I’ve imagined it’s going to be for me, they HAVE to get on board! This is going to change our lives people! Trust me, I plan to be an expert.
But the whole practice still feels like a country I’ve never been to. This weekend I went to Richard Davidson’s talk at the American Museum of Natural History on how meditation reshapes the mind, increases gray matter in the part of the brain that helps you learn, thins it out in the part of the brain that makes you anxious But I still don’t understand how. I feel like I’m trying to imagine a four dimensional shape, like I’m trying to conceive of something without knowing the material it’s made from.
Today I began my meditation. The morning was delicious, dim and quiet and warm. I sat on my floor and focused on breathing, in..one...in...two...in...three. Fifteen minutes passed without too much inner turmoil. Hunger, unanswered emails, and a sleepy foot tip-toed into my mind and showed themselves out again. But there was one particular question that tugged at my concentration: Is this right? Is it happening yet? How can there be transcendence in this empty space with nothing but my breath to fill it? I feel like a big blind blob of dough, wondering to myself if I’m rising.
Is this one of thoughts I’m supposed to greet and then release? How do I know if what should be happening is happening? Am I missing the point?