Observation and Acceptance
I wasn’t sure of what to write about for my first post. So I googled “writing prompts for blogs”. The first result was a link to a blog in the New York Times containing “500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing”. Awesome.
Number 7 on that list was the prompt, “Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past?” This then gave me the idea to write about a practice that I started close to two years ago that I’ve been doing a pretty good job of maintaining thus far - meditation.
I don’t really remember why I started incorporating meditation in my life. I do, however, remember my first time meditating being 20 minutes of a near torturous experience of me wrestling with boredom and frustration.
Thankfully, 2 years later, much of the boredom and frustration have subsided during my sessions. The ability to sit and just exist with your senses and the thoughts in your head is an extremely powerful tool. And the ability to do so doesn’t come from the act of simply trying to empty your mind and think zero thoughts. In fact, our brain has the cruel tendency to exude the opposite behavior; very often when you try to not think about something, you end up thinking about it.
From my experience, the two most powerful concepts that I’ve taken away from meditation are observation and acceptance. The trick isn’t to try and fight the brain’s natural tendency to think thoughts. The trick is to welcome the thoughts and observe them.
This has had invaluable carryover in my life. For instance, I find myself being less servant to my emotions. Instead of getting angry at something and lashing out reactively, I am more often able to stand back, observe the anger as a separate entity inside myself, and accept that fact that I am experiencing this sensation. From my perspective, it is not a case of me being angry but rather me feeling the sensation of anger and acknowledging it.
I could go on and on, but I’ll end it here. Otherwise I’ll get sick of this shit really quickly.
One more thing: I don’t mean to come across as a person who’s become this super calm, monk-like being who is in complete control of himself. In fact emotions still rule my brain all the time, and I very often find myself being mindlessly caught up in the never-ending stream of thoughts and experiences that make up a human life. But honestly, that’s okay.
(See what I did there?)