Writings

Dhammalogue no. 9


Today we conclude our Buddhist series with meditation.
Dhammalogue no. 9
Jenny: Good Morning Love

Igor: Good morning sweetheart

J: Today to conclude our series about Buddha's techings, I thought to ask you to talk a bit about meditation, the universal prescription he taught and suggested to help us deal with suffering. Could you explain shortly what meditation means to you and how it has helped you?

I: I can already tell you that I wont be able to do it 'shortly', as your readers very well know by now, capacity for synthesis is not one of our strong points. Let me see, where to start... A human being wants to satisfy his basic needs and desires, food when he is hungry, shelter when he is cold, a bed when he is tired. He wants to be free from danger and pain, both him and his family and friends. He wants to reproduce and continue the survival of his species, human kind. So far, it's the same as any other animal. But that doesn't seem to satisfy humans the same way it satisfy animals. Assurance of survival and comfort is not enough for us though, we seek something else. We look for beauty, for sense of humor and laughter, for dance and music, for physical challenges, for enterteintment, for the joy of creation in different types of experiences... Survival is essential but not enough, we are aware of our own potential and don't feel at peace unless we express it in some way or another. Not only that, the fact that life ends so soon and that what comes after is unfathomable, makes us yearn for meaning, what does this crazy game of human life mean after all. Some of us, the more earth bound of us, manage to live quite agreeable lives without poking on the question too much, but as we get older, as we come close to the final chapter, the questions push upwards and surface.
So, in the human life form, new feelings and desires that are not present in the animal world arise: confusion about our own existence, curiosity about the skies, the future and the past, fullfilment of one's dreams or the neccesity or not to create a god figure are not likely subjects to come up in a conversation between two pelicans. We build families, companies, organizations, countries, business empires... We build very complex lives, but they rest on the quicksand of having no clue about who we are and what life means. As children, the last thoughts before falling sleep are fantasies about faries, the stars, superpowers, aliens or magic. We ask questions to our parents and discover sadly that grown ups have no idea, even though some pretend to do, so we reluctantly close the magic door inside and walk reluctantly into adulthood through the painful door of teenage years. The first years of adulthood are pretty exciting so we slowly forget the door was ever open, soon that it even existed. But sooner or later life ceases to be a weekend at the Tivoli and those feeling resurface, confusion, unsatisfied curiosity and a nagging feeling that there is more to life than the eye sees. How can one satisfy this questions? How can get satisfaction when we can get no satisfaction? Meditation is the answer. Only by spending serene, quiet, curious time with myself I can know who I am and what the hell I am doing here. Not with my thoughts and opinions, not with my body, not with my actions or my words, but with me, which means all of the above but much more, and much less. There are a number of ways to explain meditation, but this would be the most basic one: to sit quiet with yourself in order to figure out who you are and finally quench the inevitable thirst for meaning that we all have.
In my case, these questions never dissapeared entirely. For a few years, football, school, girls and the rest of it took over but very soon, in my mid and late teens, it all came up again. I read Plato, Kant, Marx, Descartes and many more philosophers and thinkers but found no answer. Plato's cave metaphore pointed a direction, out of the cave, but how...? I spent most my waking hours alone, walking, trekking, having coffe in cafes at 11 am on a Wednesday while missing class... I thought a lot, but thought felt limited, as if it was not powerful enough to reach far enough, not subtle enough to reach close enough, so I felt privately alone, lost and utterly confused and simultaneously guilty for being so... weird. Years kept passing and I kept thinking and wondering and somehow managed to find partial answers, learn how be mildly satisfied with them, learned how to cope, like everyone else I guess.
But then I met you and that meeting responded to my oldest, deepest longing, to find at least someone with whom I connected completely, one who knew me, one to know. Love. And that changed it all again. If I was going to share myself with you, then I needed to share all of me but didn't know even half! And that was a bummer, to discover that even love, if incomplete, was too unsatisfying. This short life was going to be a long one... And then, I read my first book about meditation, ' The Art Of Living' by William Hart, S.N. Goenka's student. It was like an arrow hitting the bulls eye: 'this is it!' I thought, not a single doubt in my mind. Whichever answer there is, the only way to find it is by investigating thoroughly and lovingly oneself, beyond thought and through feeling, breath by breath, now. And that changed it all, it changed my life. I am by no means an accomplished meditator and I am by no means fully happy and continuously satisfied but I am essencially at peace, because I get to be in a place of truth, incomplete as it may be, everyday. Everything else is OK now, conflicts, worries, money problems, illness, they all give me new valuable information towards the greatest challenge of my life which is to know Life itself. And because one cannot truly know something unless he loves it, this way of life forces me to land in love all the time, everyday, many times a day. So really, at the bottom, although you might hear me complain and you might see me occasionally with a long face or a bruised body, I am allright. And that I owe to meditation and to all the kind people who made the effort of teaching and spreading it.

J: That was a great explanation and a beautiful account of your relationship to meditation, we'll leave it at that, now I'm going to lay a puzzle with Iomi. Love you.

I: :-)

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