Yesterday morning (Sunday) I woke up feeling like I didn’t know what to do with my time.
I drank a mug of cold water, sat on our reading chair in the living room, propped my feet onto the matching ottoman, and didn’t know what to do.
The cold water chilled my throat, waking fragments of myself.
What was I going to do.
“I can read,” I thought.
So I returned to our bedroom, where you were asleep, and grabbed my book.
“What time is it?” you said.
“9,” I said.
“Can you wake me up in 30 minutes?”
I’m reading THE LAST DAYS OF CALIFORNIA by Mary Miller.
It’s an Advance Reading Copy (ARC).
The book will be published in January 2014.
My goal is to finish and review it (right here on TOE) before then.
I returned to our reading chair in the living room, drank more cold water out of my mug, and opened to where I left off last night.
Then I remembered the other thing I did last night: read about meditation.
David Lynch is a big proponent of meditation.
I followed this link from Twitter and watched a video of him talking about how crucial meditation has been to his life/career.
He got into it during the filming of ERASERHEAD.
He was stuck, didn’t know where to take the movie, and meditation helped him solve this creative problem.
It also eased his anger issues.
I don’t remember his words exactly, but he said something about meditation expanding his consciousnesses.
He said it connects him with the source of thought.
He said there is no diversity when you reach the source.
Everything is unified.
Pure awareness takes you to this unified realm that lies at the source of thought, which, for David Lynch, is the source of everything, a place of bliss.
I researched meditation because I didn’t know how to do it, and David Lynch, for all his positivity regarding meditation, didn’t really explain how.
I found this very helpful site.
Meditation requires a mantra.
For many years a meditation “masters” issued a mantra to each person wanting to get into meditation.
They were said to be personalized.
The mantras were supposed to be kept secret.
They weren’t to be written down, only remembered.
I dug around the Internet and found out more about the mantras.
Apart from gender and age, they really aren’t too personalized.
I think only age matters.
For my age group my mantra is “Shirim.”
Shirim is associated with Mahalakshmi or Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
Wealth, in my opinion, can apply to any facet of life.
And on and on.
Meditation is controversial mainly because people usually have to pay ($1000+) for their mantras.
And they pay more and more to become more “qualified” in meditation.
I don’t plan on paying anyone for my mantra or any further “coursework” in meditation.
Once you have a mantra, the idea behind mediation is to set a timer for 20 minutes, close your eyes, say your mantra (to yourself), and then go wherever your thoughts want to go.
Don’t sit in any type of contorted posture.
Sit naturally, however you’re comfortable.
Don’t control your breathing.
Breathe naturally, however you want to.
Don’t focus on a thought or mental clarity/blankness.
Don’t repeat your mantra.
Just sit in a chair with your eyes closed and, here’s the key, LISTEN for your mantra.
It will come back to you.
It will sound different.
It will take on a different form.
It will surprise you.
The mantra is a vehicle.
It is the object.
So “Shirim,” when listened to, will return to you as wealth.
Say your mantra one time to yourself then follow your thoughts until they dissolve/transition into new thoughts.
Do this for 20 minutes, twice a day.
Ideally in the morning and before dinner.
But really it’s whenever you can/want.
The hard part, at least for me, is listening for my mantra.
It would be easier to repeat it at regular intervals, but that would be too controlling.
Meditation is meant to be effortless.
Yesterday (Sunday) I tried meditation for the first time, before I did sufficient research really.
Mantra in hand, I was too eager.
Aware of “Shirim,” I wanted to try it.
The first time I did it I repeated my mantra in rhythm with my breathing.
So I’d inhale then say to myself, “Shi.”
And I’d exhale then say to myself, “rim.”
This stayed pretty consistent.
Although sometimes the timing would change, or a different syllable would be accented.
Also, the first time I meditated, I only set my timer for 10 minutes because, well, 20 minutes seemed like a long time, and I wanted to dive back into THE LAST DAYS OF CALIFORNIA, and I had to wake my wife at 9:30AM.
My thoughts bounced around in the beginning, traveling to different places I’ve visited/lived.
Eventually my thoughts settled in the Basque Country of Spain.
This summer my wife and I went to San Sebastián-Donostia for part of our honeymoon.
Every day we would walk from our room, which was in a rustic region just outside of San Sebastián-Donostia, to the beach.
This was a 35 minute walk, traversing country then city.
I thought about each footstep we took, beginning outside our door and ending on the beach.
The deeper I got into this trip, the more details I could remember.
Eventually I even remembered the name of the area we stayed in, Añorga, even though I couldn’t remember it yesterday when talking to my father via cell phone.
The timer went off far too soon.
I woke my wife.
“I’m meditating,” I said.
Then I returned to our reading chair and set the timer for an additional 10 minutes.
After this time expired I felt very awake.
My eyes felt like they could focus through my myopia.
Of course I knew this was only the first time I tried meditation and I was far from learning what it had to teach me, but I was optimistic and genuinely wanted to try it again to learn its lesson.
Fast forward to lunchtime.
While reading about meditation, I realized I wasn’t doing it correctly.
I was forcing too much.
I learned to only say the mantra once at the beginning, an announcement, and then wait for it to come back to you.
You can remind yourself about the mantra, but only after a long while has passed of not hearing it.
Fast forward to dinner time.
My wife prepared hummus frittata.
Before eating I remembered I hadn’t done my second round of meditation.
“I forgot to do meditation,” I said.
“It’s okay,” she said. “You can do it later.”
“Okay,” I said, “but I’m usually tired after I eat.”
And then, being all too human, the idea of meditation completely left me while doing dishes.
There’s always tomorrow.
Herocious is the author, most recently, of the novel “Austin Nights.”