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"Meditation might be my very best imaginary friend."

As a twice-daily meditator over the last forty-five years, I feel somewhat competent to speak about the practice. First, it's not what you've heard. For me, there never was any sense of Tabula Rasa, no emptying of the mind. My mind might even slip into a sort of overdrive when I meditate, more TabulaRascal than empty and open. I might even be doing it wrong, but I figure that I've been doing it my way for long enough that I might have gained license to do it however I damned well please, to accept it however it seems to come to me. For me, it requires no more than an ounce or two of light discipline, just enough to encourage me to sit and do nothing for twenty minutes at a time with no soothing background music or expressed purpose in mind. I consider this my repayment in kind, a tithe of my available time. I read in the press that few people feel comfortable sitting with nothing to do for more than five minutes. The fidgets take over and nervous energy expresses itself. I would consider even this an acceptable form of meditation rather than an example of how not to successfully engage. It's at root an exercise in simple acceptance for me.

Whatever happens, happens.
Wherever my mind might wander, accompanied by my mantra or no, my responsibility for each small duration stretches no further than simply going where I go. I might notice where I go and later reflect upon that focus, but I hold myself to no idealistic standard that I must move further toward an ever-elusive enlightenment, whatever form such a thing might take. I get to be okay just as I am, however surrounded I might be by how I do not want it to be. I can get back to my primary distractions after I'm done. Until then, I'm sitting out this round, purposefully goal-less, maybe even soul-less for a spell.

I am insistent about these time-outs. My one, universal, always acceptable excuse remains that I need to meditate. Supper can wait. So can anything else. I might find myself propped up in the shotgun seat as The Muse careens us toward some scheduled meeting, but I will not agree to forego this one necessary activity. I might find myself at eleven o'clock in the evening, still supperless, having gotten tangled up in a stream of out there activities, I will still insist upon meditating before supper and before bed, however tired and hungry I've become. Such a vacuous and symbolic necessity, producing nothing but perhaps an ounce of simple reassurance that I remained true to this one intention, this one small promise I made to myself back in the summer of 1974. I can declare that I've been true to myself, however I might have otherwise betrayed myself since.

I cannot know what difference my practice has made, if indeed any difference resulted. I have no baseline against which to judge progress. I was different then. I'm different now. Magnitude couldn't possibly matter. I feel reasonably confident that should I ever stand at the much-touted pearly gates, St. Peter or his administrative surrogate will not bestow extra brownie points upon me for my discipline, though I value this one small sanctity in my life. This practice belongs only to me and nobody else. It's something I accumulated without anyone else's permission or encouragement. Some days, it's quite literally all I have to show that I was ever here. No footprints left behind. No more profitable second quarter as a result. I feel as though meditation recharges me, though I know I'm no battery. It seems to calm my eternally racing mind, though it never successfully cleans it completely out. It's just always TabulaRascal again.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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