Meditation, or is it just me?

meditation

This musing is a reaction to an article about another blogger’s journey with vipasana mediation. 10 days of doing nothing but sitting 12 hours straight, in an attempt to still one’s mind. As a blogger and writer the whole purpose of stilling one’s mind is beyond me. I am like the NASA probe searching for a thought wave, constantly on the prowl for some illuminating thought that I can transcribe into words. My mind is a podium for unceasing debate, in the words of René Descartes,

I think therefore I am.

Even as I sleep my mind is in constant chatter, my dreams are more tangled than Shakespeare’s web of lies. I am always on the Internet absorbing news, ideas, latest research, discoveries and constantly analysing theories. I relish religious discourses where I can logically defend my faith. I am constantly scouring anti-Catholic sites, assimilating all their objections and I try to find valid answers to all their contentions. If there is a point that I cannot clarify then I thrash it out mentally and devour religious literature until I find the answer. Offcourse, all this goes on internally, I never voice my opinions publicly, for me religion is a very personal matter and not for public debate, which brings me to my point, I love to think.

Unfortunately there are days, mostly when I am on a zero sugar and low carb diet when my mind just goes blank. These periods that I dub as writer’s block which are more like thinker’s block are the most boring and depressing episodes of my life. No thoughts, no emotions, no adrenaline, no reaction, just empty space, floating through a void; most depressing. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be in that state! It’s like dying; at least it’s for me.

Oh the joy to be alive, to feel emotions that cause your heart to pound, the blood to rush into your veins, to experience your head throb with anger or excitement. Why would anyone want to give all that away, even for a nanosecond? As a religious person I know that there are times one should be still and listen to the Lord, but for me that is usually when fear or trouble crowd my existence, which is very rarely. Usually I am in an animated discourse with the Lord about this and that, or I am usually bugging him for an answer or just in awe of him. Stillness is not a prominent feature of my religious life and the Lord hasn’t led me to doubt my journey.

As I watch my 4-½ year old, run wildly around the house chasing an imaginary animal, whilst screaming at the top of his voice, I can only smile and say, “yeah, he takes after me!”

The power of why.

“But why not?” asks my 4 year old, doesn’t matter regarding what, it’s his classic reply to anything that I tell him not to do.  “Please stop eating grass!” I yell out. “But why not?” is his quick reply.

As I drone about the dangers of eating herbaceous plants, not to mention poisonous weeds, he flits to another activity. At 4 he is curious about anything that moves and catches his fancy, already he has deciphered most of life’s riddles (or so he thinks!).

As I walk him to kindergarten and hear him talk I am amazed at the labels he has generated. The adventure playground, that’s a playground that caters to older kids, is ‘dangerous’. ‘Office’ is where people go to when they leave our home, even if they dropped in for a visit on their way shopping. The police would catch you if you crossed the road without adult supervision! What’s more hilarious is to ask him what happens if the police ‘caught’ you. “You shouldn’t be naughty so they won’t catch you.”

He obviously hadn’t worked that out, his little mind was too innocent to work out the nasty stuff. However, it got me thinking, so this tendency to label, to work out how things work, to make sense of the ways of the world is an innate tendency.

A 4 year old from a loving family, vigilant parents, protective community, and a safe neighbourhood has a need to work out his boundaries, a strong urge to keep himself safe, and the resilience of ‘but why’.

So it got me thinking, why do we have this need to figure things out, is this what makes us human, the power of ‘why’? Rebellion is birthed by why and it is the fundamental force of change for many a government, dictatorship and evil regime. Discovery, invention and evolution all trace their humble beginnings to a simple why.

Why do we question? Why can’t we let things be or like so many of the new age gurus drone on and on, stop worrying about what can not, is not and will not. The reason is plain and simple, we have been engineered to use our brains, as proposed by René Descartes, ‘Cogito ergo sum’, ‘I think therefore I am”.

The ability of thought is fundamental to possessing consciousness, and until the day we die we will do two things, breathe and think. I doubt whether we can choose to do them, in the sense that when we stop doing them we will be essentially dead (physically or mentally), we can however, choose the type of breathing or thinking.

So I hope that my son never stops asking why, as annoying as it may be currently for I know that it is the hallmark of our human spirit. It probably was the reason Adam and Eve got banished from the garden of Eden, for they couldn’t help but wonder why they weren’t supposed to eat the apple.

Hmm, perhaps sometimes we should just let things be?

I am not a feminist and it should not bother someone who is.

For all those who are lining up with a bludger in hand to let me know  ‘why’ they oppose my line of thought, how about you make your self a cuppa and have a read?

To be an active soldier means there is a war, which means that there is conflict. No matter how you look at it, conflict exists because two or more parties partake in the argument. To have an argument all parties have to agree on one aspect, to disagree about a particular point sensitive to both.

Let me explain, Henrietta a scientist stationed in Antarctica believes in aliens, Annabel Louise thinks only whackos would entertain such a thought.  Henrietta and Annabel Louise bump into each other at a community get together in their hometown; they have a wonderful time catching up. There is no conflict. Henrietta and Annabel Louise are both aware of each other’s position on Aliens, both feel very strongly about the topic, however it plays no part in their friendship.

They are more than their opinions on a topic, Henrietta is more than an advocate of Aliens, she is a woman, a scientist, a kind person, etc. and so is Annabel Louise. I am not a feminist because I am not a label and no I don’t believe in all things equal. There is a lot more dynamics at play than just one metric as to intelligence or superiority. I am a lousy doctor (I never went to medical school), xyz is a great doctor because xyz actually studied to be a doctor, and it doesn’t mean that I am an inferior person.

We are not created ‘equal’ but we are created ‘unique’. We should celebrate our individuality not lobby for equality. A friend of mine has a child who has Down syndrome, you won’t find my friend lobbying for equality for her daughter but she does try to ‘educate’ everyone about how wonderful her daughter is.

All this ‘fight’ for equality stems from the need to fit in, for recognition, for acknowledgment. You don’t need all that when you are truly liberated. When you are your own person and not ashamed of who you are then the world doesn’t affect you.

I am a scrooge and I love bargains, I actually get a kick out of savings, I am a clearance shopper. My husband is the exact opposite; he loves designer wear, pays top dollar for everything and always disowns me in public when we are out shopping. Do we argue? In the beginning yes, when we tried to win each other over to the other side. Today, we have come to an understanding that we both have a right to exercise our choices (that does not cross certain lines, fidelity, honesty etc.) without needing each other’s approval.

Life shouldn’t be different, the world is not fair and it’s foolhardy to think that you can get somewhere lobbying about it. True change comes from within, it’s a gradual shift, the community has to come together and effect the change. Women play a great role in shaping the future, as mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, carers, teachers etc. If the world is not a better place then perhaps we should begin looking into our own souls?

You who lobby for women’s lib, do you look down on women who don’t ‘agree’ with your line of thinking or support you? Does the top executive look down on the stay at home mom? More importantly does the stay at home mom feel inadequate because she isn’t climbing the corporate ladder?

Inequalities stem from our own ideas of success, as mothers do we secretly hope that our children will become doctors, noble laureates instead of let say, a truck driver? Who are we to judge that a truck driver is any less of a person than a Nobel laureate? Yet it is the unspoken truth, we are always competing and comparing our children. Step into a playground and you can hear the mothers, “Mine is 18 months and already potty trained!” “My baby has spoken her first word, and she is only 7 months!”

Do you really think your kids don’t hear you?  So early in life they are absorbing this competitive spirit, they are developing this need for approval and public admiration?

So no, I’m not a feminist; I am a woman, ordinary and proud of it. Ordinary to the world but so special to my family and you know what? That’s all that matters.