I’ve been practicing meditation for a while now. I was partly inspired by this wonderful podcast, from my favorite internet peoples ever. If I’m not mistaken, I think it was Dan Benjamin who mentioned the book Mindfulness in Plain English, a book that has helped a great deal in getting me started. Meditation and Buddhism have been mentioned throughout the Back to Work episodes. I like how Merlin defined meditation in the latest episode. To paraphrase, he said something in the lines of “meditation is realizing how much you suck”.
One thing that’s been interesting since starting is noticing all the things going on in my mind. The audible thoughts and images. It’s kind of scary to a certain level. Even when you think it’s quiet, it’s still buzzing like mad. When you sit down and really pay attention to what’s going on in there, you just can’t believe how out of control it is. It’s like your mind has its own mind. Some of the thoughts and images that you hear and see make sense that they’re there. If your worried about something, have due bills coming up, or haven’t mowed your lawn, it will probably come up. But there’s other stuff in there that makes no sense at all.
Like penguins. On one ocasion I was meditating and all I saw were penguins walking around. (This was before they were promoting heavily the Jim Carey movie) Was I thinking of March of the Penguins? Is the penguin my power animal? Slide?
The more I meditate, the more layers I discover. You first notice the thoughts, then you notice the thoughts about the thoughts, then you get back to the breathing, then you notice that you’re meditating, then you notice that you notice that your meditating. It can get quite meta, but in a good way. I highly recommend it. It has certainly helped with my quitting smoking and my overall focus. Another great resource to get started is the Audiodharma series by Gil Fronsdal.