Today I Can Say I Feel Wonderful
Hi, darling Louise [not her real name]. To tell you the truth, with a few exceptions I didn’t find the guided meditations [in the Chopra Center's 21-Day Meditation Challenge] to be… quite right. The program was too gimmicky for my taste — please, “Creating Your Soul Profile”? After 10 days I quit Chopra and went back to the Jon Kabat-Zinn style of mindfulness meditation, where you just Meditate without all the moralizing and the Ways You Need to Change.
The Chopra meditations were talky and lecture-y, like Whatever you’re doing you’re doing it wrong so add THIS to your to-do list… not that I don’t want to keep learning and growing, maybe now more than ever, but to me meditation is ALL about utter acceptance and about relaxing INTO the Spirit or Soul or Higher Self (whatever the term du jour is), not about adding more layers and then willfully tunneling through.
There, aren’t you glad you asked? And your emails are so elegantly minimalist and they convey so much. But really, Louise, are you as weary as I am of sentences that start out, “Most of us…” or “Our culture…,” as in, “Most of us function out of Ego and insecurity most of the time, which is why we … [pick one: (a) trample each other at Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving, (b) aspire to have the biggest house and the showiest car in our trendy suburban neighborhood, (c) binge and puke so we can look like Sarah Jessica Parker, (d) butter our toast on both sides, (e) blah blah blah]?” Such a cliché, lazy thinking/writing, totally unexamined. It makes me want to say, How do YOU know what “most of us” think and feel, mr. davidji, and why do you have such a stupid name?
I flew out here on June 6 with two suitcases and with all my airport time spent in wheelchairs, and after I’d been here for a few days I found out that the people who literally cleaned up after me in Omaha had packed my suitcases with, chiefly, socks and had donated most of my stuff to the Salvation Army — my clothes, my computer, printers (2), scanner, books, pots & pans, silverware, 1930s tablecloths & handkerchiefs, brass candlestocks, oak-framed mirrors (2), the clutter of a lifetime… and all the stuff you reach for constantly, like scissors, pens, expensive whitening toothpaste, bread knife, books, CDs… even my glasses. It took a LOT of meditation to get past that, but I had the guidance of my hero, Jon Kabat-Zinn, plus the axiom that I think is from A Course in Miracles, but maybe not, but basically it’s this: Forgiveness is not something you give to people who you think have wronged you; forgiveness is something you give yourself because you have made the error of believing that things should be different than they are. THAT is a very liberating, affirming, and planet-healing lesson that I don’t MIND learning, and I can now have a conversation with my daughter (June [not her real name]) without wringing my hands and gnashing my teeth.
My designated angry person
Anyway, I don’t HAVE to be angry and indignant because wonderful Margie does it for me, plus she’s enlisted Megan and Michelle, and I hope June never runs into them in a dark alley.
But it’s all good. Today I can say I feel wonderful. The process of meditating and praying my way back to cheerfulness has also done wonders for my back — which, having failed me completely, was the reason that I had to be wheeled onto and off of and between planes, that I couldn’t pack my OWN stuff, that I overstayed my lease by about a week, which gave June and her crew less than two days to empty and clean my apartment….
Krishnamurti gave the world his secret of serenity — “I don’t mind what happens” — and one of the Four Agreements is, “Never take anything personally.” I’m not nearly as evolved as Krishnamurti or don Miguel Ruiz and really never wanted to be (I like the Middle Way), but these noble axioms (along with, of course, Jon Kabat-Zinn) have been of tremendous help for the past three-plus months, have kept me out of victimhood. I’m finally starting to reconnect with old friends and it’s no longer 110 degrees every day. I have orange and blue Chinese lanterns and a thousand plants in my trailer, which I pretend is my private car on the Orient Express, and I finally have a working computer that’s much better than the donated one. When I step outside I can practically reach out and touch the windows of my grandchildren’s bedrooms. Life is really, really good. I expect that any day now someone I haven’t met is going to give me a 5-speed pickup truck powered by solar energy, and I won’t say No, thanks.