Meditating on meditating

I’ve been back nearly two weeks from 10 intense days of meditation and pretend solitude, and I still haven’t adjusted. Although I was usually around other people at the course I took, our collective attempt to cultivate the feeling that we were working in isolation was effective, at least for me. I could see all these other people around me, but I never heard from them nor they from me. My wife might say that I had a head start since I’ve been cultivating the feeling that I’m working in isolation forever; she probably won’t, but she might.

Students’ environments are carefully controlled at the Northern California Vipassana Center, and the Code of Discipline requires several pages. Our walking paths were short, didn’t go out of sight, and led back where we started. Nearly anything can be a distraction from the awful stillness at the center. I studied a lot of lichen.

I speculated about the other students, what they were like, what they did for money, how they got there. On the 10th day I found out if that guy was really as sour as the look on his face (no), if this guy was as spacey as he seemed (no again), if the one with the regrettable shirt could be that big a jerk (yes).

I didn’t speculate much, having better things to think about, like would I ever learn the 16-item daily timetable so that I didn’t always feel a little off-balance, except I could be sure that whatever came next would have something to do with me, focusing on some aspect of my personal self, my thoughts, my emotions, my needs, my being. Most unusual.

The thing about meditation, though, is that although it seems to start inside, it can end up everywhere, focused on one or two sittings a day and at the same time spilling over into the rest of my life. The trick for me is to remain calm and equanimous not when I’m sitting with an itch but when I read the news about local law invention and enforcement.

For instance, the Chico Silly Council finally and timidly decided to allow cannabis dispensaries. Then the police said, “No you won’t either,” and the sissy majority repealed the council’s shiny new ordinance because some goon threatened them with legal action. The council was a long way from prison, and still four out of the seven decided to give up in advance, like Obama, except wimpier.

I think of all that now, and I don’t mind a bit. Bullies and punks both pass away.