Thursday, October 24, 2019

The escape artist

Tuesday: 45 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 45 minutes sitting
Thursday: 45 minutes sitting

Weird meditation thing: the phenomenon of having your own brain try to outsmart you.

It’s because it gets bored so easily. It’s like an fidgety animal you’re trying to tame, and it’s always testing its limits. First it just runs off and thinks about whatever it wants, and you have to guide it back to your breath over and over. Then it argues with you about why it’s OK—no, better—to be thinking about something besides your breath. Then it makes you sleepy so it can wander off without your noticing.

I’ve read about all of the above in my meditation book. But today I noticed that I was blending thoughts together in a way that has never happened before and is hard to explain. At one point, for example, I realized that I was thinking about both my breath and the fireplace that was right in front of me, but it wasn’t two thoughts; my breath was the fireplace. I was still focused on my breath, but I was breathing the fireplace in and out.

I know that sounds insane—or like I was dozing off—but I think it was actually a really creative way my mind was trying to use to try to “escape.” And it was working, too!

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