What ever you do it is imperative that you do not meditate, and yet, at the same time meditation is a critical tool to manage your mind and gain perspective. So WTF am I talking about?
When I was a fit young man I used to do a lot of walking and running, now the running has been set aside unless it please me to do so, for short periods. Arthritis is setting in and the sort of crazy endurance walking I once did has left its mark on my spinal column. So, unlike the past, my walk yesterday was a meandering thing without a prior defined purpose. I can tell you that it lasted four hours and took in a series of hills, I can tell you that I feel it today, but I can't rattle off the stats of average speed etc. That's because I decided some years ago that the engaging openly and fully with the experience of walking was more important than meeting some goal.
On my walk I had several short breaks, on the longest of these, after vaping to top up on nicotine, I let the experience of watching tree dappled sunlight on the grass consume my awareness. I felt the usual descent of my mind as my body relaxed and the froth of my subconscious arose, spurious stochastic thoughts entering my mind as the movement of shadows consumed me. But I did not meditate.
Anyone who meditates may be rolling their eyes now, to all intents and purposes I was meditating. But I don't use the term as a result of a valuable lesson given to me by a person I learnt to avoid. This person got into a conversation with me about meditation, it turned out she meditated. Yes. She had the incense sticks and candles and a proper ethnic prayer mat, even some bells. This surprised me because it had seemed to me that she was a moaning, self-pitying, materialistic, small-minded person.
So I asked her about the froth of the subconscious, she didn't know what I meant. It then occurred to me that on occasion, my routine led me to suffer from the same problem. In using the term Meditate my act tended to be performative, I understood the concept of the uncarved block, yet my act of meditation was a concept. I wasn't just being, I was performing the act of being.
So now I do this thing, a thing that I avoid naming because to name it is to carve the block of the pre-conceptual world and make of it a tool in the conceptual world. Sometimes I use the technique as a tool, when I focus on deep breaths in those moments when I wonder if I really want to be a manager. Maybe then I am Meditating. Otherwise it takes me, when I am walking, sitting on the sofa in a quiet room, sitting on the bus allowing the world to pass by without mentally grasping it.
As for the woman who gave me this insight. Did she meditate or was she performing? That is not my concern. I avoided her except for the necessities of work, because she seemed toxic to me, but she did give me a valuable insight nonetheless. This is not to be taken as counsel that engaging with toxic people is a worthwhile source of enlightenment.
There is of course a deeper reflection in writing this. But given that the hit-rate of this blog suggests only search-bots 'read' it, my ego using this post as a means of parading my worthiness and spiritual depth seems to be a rather empty goal. 😁