I liked being alone when I was little, but I never was. There were always people around watching over me, hovering above me, wondering what I was up to. “When I grow up”, I thought to myself, “I want to be alone and think. Just sit and think until I understand.” I was a weird kid, but I actually had this desire. I was really little too, like maybe seven? I couldn’t understand why people talked so much and why they were always angry or sad. I just wanted to understand, but I felt I had to get away from all the noise first, to be able to do it.
This yearning to be alone followed me all the way into my twenties. “Just for a little while,” I thought, “just enough time for me to clear my head and understand better.”
I had an experience when I was a kid. I may have written about it already, but my head is so foggy tonight that I can’t remember.
I was talking to my Dad. I was about 6 or 7 years old. We were talking about the universe and how it all started.
Me – “What was here before the universe?”
Pop – “Nothing was here.”
Me – “Was it just blackness?”
Pop – “There was no blackness. Blackness didn’t exist yet. There was nothing.”
That’s when I experienced my first zen moment. My mind became quiet, clear, still. It became blank and empty. It was the feeling you get when listening to an empty conch shell. Well, almost that feeling.
A split second later, I was back to reality. I had no idea what just happened – had no name or knowledge of it, but I knew I had experienced something, just no idea what. I tried to do it again. I called it “blankness,” and I could only obtain the “blankness” if I thought about the blankness before the universe started. I was able to control it. I was able to go in and out of Zen.
Are these two things normal for a kid to experience?
I had another zen moment a few weeks ago. I hadn’t had one in maybe 10 years.
What brought on this zen moment were thoughts about energy. The fact that it can never be created or destroyed, only change form. I thought about the time before the universe began – the timeless blankness – and wondered that because energy could never be created or destroyed, than it must have always been here, but since nothing existed before the universe, energy had no form to take. If it had no form, than what was it? If it had no purpose, no place to go, what form was it in? Does matter make energy, or does energy make matter?
This type of unanswerable question is called a Koan. It can’t be figured out or understood using rational thought, but can be intuitively felt and realized. It’s something that can’t be described (though, you can try), only felt. And it induces a state of meditation. Zen Buddhists use Koan’s as a way to obtain enlightenment. It is possible to find an answer to a koan, but the answer is only true if it’s a personal realization and not a rationalized one.
With all that said, I’m pretty sure I was a Zen Buddhist in a previous life. I mean seriously! I read that the Dalai Lama has no tolerance for insincere people – and neither do I! And I intuitively sense when I meet an inauthentic human being. I’m not sure tolerance is the right word. Maybe no patience, or no time to be wasted by conversing with them.
I also get an insane amount of anxiety when I feel that I’ve hurt someone. Whether they are genuine or not, I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to hurt Christina for being how she is. You can’t make a person understand by hurting them, it’s just a cycle of anger and sadness. I would hurt her, and she hurts me back. Nothing is gained.
I’m going through a rough time. It’s not just because I want to quit my job at a time when I could really use the money (for Nepal), It doesn’t have anything to do with Christina or the man-baby. It has to do with my Mother. I still haven’t told her about Nepal and it’s tearing me up inside. I feel I’m being dishonest with her – this dishonesty is throwing me off balance. My guilt is wreaking havoc on me. I want to cry. I want to stay home just to appease her, but I know that’s the wrong thing to do. It’s the wrong thing for both of us. I’m hurting my Mother without her knowing I’m hurting her.
I’ll no doubt still lie to her about buying a resort package with a guided tour of Nepal. I have to lie. But it make me feel worse by telling her nothing at all. In this situation, I rationalize, that by me lying to her, I’m only hurting myself with guilt – but by telling her the truth, I’m relieving my guilt, and hurting her instead. Telling the truth to a person who will never understand, is hurtful. However, telling the truth to someone who would understand, is the liberating, respectable thing to do. Well, in this situation at least. Shit, I’m rambling.
But by lying to her, I’m secretly conveying the message that she’s incapable of changing herself or understanding. That she will always be a control freak and not expect much else out of her. This is a paradox. Did I just create another Koan?
I guess the best thing to do in this case is compromise. To grow by gaining small levels of understanding at a time. I’ll tell her I’m touring Nepal, but with a large group of tourists. She’ll become enlightened in increments.
I’m PMS’ing. This type of thought ALWAYS happens to me when I’m PMS’ing. I hate it. Absolutely hate it. Okay, so I was a Zen buddhist in a past life – whatever you say menstrual Mel!
I bought a book about meditation. This is the book:
This guy’s meditation technique is that there is no technique, no effort. It just simply is was it is.
I mix a little of my own technique with his no effort/no control way, and it seriously works. It works to quiet and untangle my brain.
When I meditate to find “quietness,” I feel a physical barrier. A wall. This “wall” feels like a fist that tightens the closer I come to it. It’s stifling, claustrophobic and has the same kind of pressure that you may feel from a headache, only it doesn’t hurt.
My technique to this fist in my head is to approach it lightheartedly without effort, and to visualize it tightening and then loosening. It doesn’t lose the shape of a fist when it loosens, but every time I squeeze it and release it, it’s able to relax slightly more after each pass. I tighten and loosen, tighten and it loosens some more. I do it to the rhythm of my breath. As I inhale, the fist tightens and on the exhale, loosens. And that impenetrable wall and pressure dissipates. It’s left open and free for idea’s to float in.
Of course as soon as I figured this out, I had to jump on my blog to write about it. My mind is a fist once again. I need to learn how to let go. That’s what it is with me. I have trouble letting go. It’s hard to let go of something when you don’t know what it is. I’m guessing it’s fear, or doubt maybe? I don’t know.
Am I done yet? Hmmm, I think so. Sorry for the weird post.
- Ordinary Mind Is The Way (zen-traveler.blogspot.com)
- A Modern Zen Koan: Reality Skanks (prometheantimes.com)
- Zazen (zazenlife.com)
- “The More the Medicine, the Worse the Sickness.” ~ Tias Little (elephantjournal.com)
- A Little Riff on Zen (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Zenkai (persistance) & one hand clapping (zendictive.wordpress.com)
- The Rational vs The Emotional Self – how to find (and keep) balance! (paulettecake.wordpress.com)