I have a confession to make

I don’t meditate.

There. I said it.

I don’t meditate. I fear that in some people’s eyes, this makes me either an unspiritual person, or a poor magic-worker, or both. Please believe me when I say that I have tried. I have sat down on a cushion and crossed my fat legs in front of me and tried to keep my cranky back straight. I have counted breaths. I have sat as upright as I could on chairs. I have tried to watch my thoughts.

And eventually, after suffering through a sore back, sore hips, sore feet, involuntary twitches and spasms, and persistent frustration, I gave up. I don’t meditate.

I write. At least 750 words, and often more than that, every day. I process things through my fingers, through my words, through writing. I watch my mind by watching what it pours onto the page. I write essays, poetry, and fiction.

Words are important to me. They are my prayer and my meditation, my holy writ and my sacred magic. The most nearly meditative practice I have ever had success with has been the use of prayer beads. I used to say the Rosary occasionally, but more often I would repeat other prayers or phrases from spiritual writing on the beads, over and over. I worked my way through the whole of Julian of Norwich’s Showings like, ruminating on the sayings that struck home for me. I did this not while sitting in a quiet, private space, but while walking to work, while waiting for and riding on buses. I would like to find some way to use that practice in relation to Antinous, but my attempts at making a set of prayer beads literally would not stay in one piece. The string kept coming untied; the beads scattered in my pocket when I reached for them.

In the shower I muse over the last story I read, the last television episode I watched. I rehearse the plots of movies and novels. If I have more than three or four blocks to walk, I often muse on things I want to write. I pray aloud under my breath. At home in bed, sometimes in the bathtub, I read poetry aloud. I have listened to an abridgment of the Iliad as an audiobook, read by Derek Jacobi, and next up is the Odyssey read by Ian McKellen.

I love to sing, also, and I love to dance, and I don’t do either of those things often enough. But I cannot take words out of my religious life, out of my mind. Maybe I am meditating after all. In any case, I offer these words to my gods and to you, my readers.

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One thought on “I have a confession to make

  1. I agree…

    Both the Zen/mindfulness meditations, as well as guided meditations/visualizations, are of no interest, utility, or efficacy to me.

    I think there are other possible definitions of meditation, some of which are physical. My daily practices are mostly physical/gestural, and involve sacred objects and a few words…and, if I don’t do them correctly, 1) I know it immediately, and 2) I know the condition of my mind and what to watch out for in the day to follow.

    Anyway…

    Like

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