Meditation Discoveries

Okay, so this one isn’t about Scifi or books or writing. It is about this crazy practice of meditation. I started about a year ago and was extremely skeptical, but I swear by meditation now. It changed my life.

“Alejandro, there’s no need to exaggerate,” you say. “You’re not earning street cred by saying that meditation is a game changer.”

But yes! I shall insist that meditation is something more Americans need to do. Think of turning off that internal voice for just a second. Your boss, your mom (dead or alive), your friends- all those voices inside your head go silent for a 20 minutes while you sit in one place.

Just sit and breathe. Focus on your breath. Sounds easy enough, huh? It is actually one of the hardest things just getting yourself to sit down and calm yourself. It is in fact one of the hardest things. Who knew?!

But once you do, you hear the noise and chatter in your head, most of which isn’t even you consciously thinking. It just cycles in and out, out and in. Your boss: “You better finish that deliverable.” Your dog barks, “Woof, woof.” And it just seems like a tangled mess that’s beyond your control.

There is a moment though, at about 10 minutes, when those voices melt away. At that point, you are free. And this is where the paradox of meditation lies: it frees you from yourself. It lets you be just breath and life without our monkey brain. It lets you be.

For all our love of identity and its integral part in literature and love, the fact is that any identity, no matter how puny, has its share of burdens. In a strange way, being a son or a father or a grandpa is both a blessing and a curse. As a son, I think, “I love my dad.” and two seconds later, “I hate my dad.” There are worries and constant shiftings that are beyond our understanding. Maybe an indigestible Kit-Kat sits in your tummy and just gives you the most terrible thoughts about yourself and your weight (identity crisis, anyone?) Or maybe you’re an aspiring writer (ahem). You love it but it also burdens you with worry: “What if this isn’t good? That paragraph surely isn’t.”

Meditation, for a brief moment, eradicates those worries because it eradicates the identity. You aren’t really anyone when you are just breath. You are just life. You are moving stillness, like the vacuum of space. That is the miracle of meditation, my form of prayer to the universe.