I am starting to get back into meditation. I used to meditate somewhat consistently, until about ten years ago. Recently I decided to restart.
My income has been pretty static for the past decade. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe there is a connection. I know a lot of people say you shouldn’t meditate for some material goal, but I am tired of feeling like I have hit a ceiling. I am a software developer, and over the past decade I have been at a few jobs, and each time I reach a point where I think there has got to be a better way to do things. I am told by the higher-ups to just keep doing things the same old way. A lot of times I am told I have great ideas, right before I am told why they cannot be implemented.
I know that is a bit of a word-salad. I want more control over my life. I felt more in control when I meditated regularly a long time ago.
I look at the Meditation subreddit on a regular basis. There is some good stuff there. The Zen subreddit is a waste of time. I know the original point of koans a thousand years ago was to get people to think about things in a different way. A lot of people in the Zen subreddit seem to think that non-sequiturs make them sound enlightened. Usually, it just makes you sound like a jerk.
I have been meditating almost every day for about a month. Honestly, not a lot of progress so far. I tried doing qigong while watching educational videos on YouTube or listening to a podcast, but I have had to face the fact that doing so is not conducive to positive change in my life.
I might look for a meditation teacher. I have heard good things about Ron Crouch, but on his site he says he is not taking on any new students at this time. I have heard good things about The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa (also see Dharma Treasure site). I will also get to some Buddhist podcasts in the near future.
I tried the whole “idea machine” idea, but I was not too consistent with it. I was coming up with a lot of lists about making idea lists. I might try again, but I have been interested in meditation a lot longer, so I think this might work out better. Hopefully it will improve all aspects of my life. Perhaps I will find a Zen woman. A Theravada mama. Frankly, it seems like most women have two stages in their life: Drinking and shopping; and having babies. At least, that is what I have inferred. It’s hard to know something about a group of people when they don’t want you to know anything about them. Anyway, I would like to meet someone with whom I can do some buddha-buddha and bunga-bunga. I getting to an age where a lot of the single women frankly don’t look too good. They say at 20 you have the face you are born with, and at 50 you have the face you deserve. One way to not looking like ten miles of bad road: Do not drink alcohol. (Notice I did not write “drink less.”) But nobody ever likes that answer. Perhaps crediting not looking like a hobo to meditation will shut people up.
One thing I have realized is I need to lose weight. I have gone to a few Zen places in Chicago and here in Austin, and the basic instructions are to follow the breath by focusing on the hara, or dantian in Chinese. It is a couple of inches below your navel, and is close to most peoples’ center of gravity. Perhaps my dantian has just gotten bigger in the past decade. Yeah, that’s it.
Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. It is the Flag of the Kingdom of Sikkim, which was annexed by India in 1975. The circle in the middle is the dhammacakka, the Wheel Of Dharma that Gautama set into motion upon his enlightenment.
Much of this post was originally posted as a comment on the Meditation subreddit.