Innocent of Innocence

Ftrain snarks on yoga hype in Crucifixion for Better Abs. As always i’m excited to get to a newly updated Ftrain. This one’s tagline is “A cranky meditation (not really, that’s a pun) on marketing other people’s sacred beliefs and approaches. ” Myself, i’m off to my guided meditation session in about an hour. I’ve been trying to sit for 5 minutes a day, and i can’t tell you how friggin hard it is. A couple of weeks ago my downstairs neighbor locked himself out and we sat and chatted in my apartment while waiting for the super to come over. Right away we started talking about Buddhism, which anyone one from LA with a sense of humor knows, can get really cheesy really fast. But i could easily sense that he knew a lot about this, and well yes i’ve been trying to meditate since i returned from France by virtue of a serious of accidents which i would have described as “totally meaningful” when i was 18, but which i think now are “totally arbitrary.” In any case there’s the pillow i set up in my bedroom and books and xeroxes strewn around. Sometimes i open the pocket version of The Teachings of Buddha on the train and i feel as conspicuous as if i had just opened Hustler.

What is it with being earnest about eastern thought that makes a person practically drip with self-consciousness? The Yoga For Better Abs bit is probably what it is. That yoga and meditation and all it’s trappings have been embraced by the ditsiest among us for the most superficial purposes. Like abs maybe. Like my could-be-mistaken-for-a-hipster look on the train makes it more silly to be looking for a more consistent way to live (yes, consistent). From my limited understanding of it all, the ideas contained in the dharma apply as well to abs and hipster threads as to reaching ultimate connection with the universe. That becoming the Buddha happens on the train, in the office, in the gym, as much as in the temple, on the mountain top. Something like that is hard for us modern westerners to accept. We go to a spiritual service one day a week, or just major holidays or whatever, connect ourselves to a different place for that few hours or so, and then act like assholes for the larger part of our lives. Our hero is someone who dies while saving a baby from a burning building, regardless of how he’s lived the rest of his life. I would like my hero to have been kind and morally consistent every day, in ways that are subtle and don’t much get rewarded.

So the hardest part of sitting for me, is just convincing myself to stop what i’m doing and go to my little place for the measly 5 minutes. Even though i know i’ll feel good about it, even though i know it’s only 5 minutes, every day it’s a struggle. What what what? I keep asking myself. I asked John about it, in the larger context of the question, “When the way to contentment is so clear, and when we really do believe it, why do we continue to do or not do things in ways that we know are gonna make us feel like crap?” In good therapeutic form, John answered me with a serious of questions which i’m still running through in my head. But in good meditation teacher form he recommended i breath in gold coins on the “breathing-in” of the sitting, to signify all the riches that i am worthy of, and that i deserve (a “self-esteem breath” in Oprah terms). He also recommended i remind myself of my innocence at every sitting, which struck me as a particularly poignant thought. Me innocent? I find that so hard to swallow, but so fully compelling. I’ll be trying it really hard.

Comments are closed.