So I read Trading Beyond The Matrix a couple weeks ago and it’s…important for reasons that have nothing to do with trading at all, NOT that what it said shocked me so much. I just found it odd to have a book I bought on trading techniques teach me more about deeply understanding myself than most of the (hundreds) of things I’d read to that purpose specifically.
ANYway, I’m not sure how much I’m going to get into the details of Van Tharp’s book. (Probably very little actually.) But one thing it did was convince me that I needed to start meditating again.
Back when I was a shit for brains wiccan leftist I meditated enough to be able to say it at “gatherings” (drug induced 3 day camp outs that amounted to cocktail parties for the poor, confused, and…rampant.) Even then it was a “sufficiently nonthreatening” form of calming down the screaming demons in my head.
Getting through Tharp’s book I realized again that meditation is really the “don’t eat McDonald’s” for your mind, the lowest bar of maintenance. It may also be the single best thing you can do for yourself.
So last Saturday I put on a pair of sweats and took a beanbag chair (before you get all fucking judgey, I have a beanbag chair that’s shaped like a chair from when I moved in here because I had to have SOMEthing to sit on before I had any furniture.)
Anyway when you take this formed beanbag chair and turn it so that you’re sitting on what would be the “back” and have the “seat” acting as the back, it gives you room to sit cross-legged with some substance to support your back. Works really well.
I sat down, scootched into place and said “Alexa, 20 minute timer”, closed my eyes with my hands loosely on my knees and sat, mind a complete fucking tornado of thparklys and madness.
The Echo chimed unexpectedly. I managed to open my eyes (not wanting to wake myself, oh irony of ironies) and I was barely able to get out the words “Alexa, stop” from the depths of my mellow.
I sat there, staring at where the television was, for a few seconds then said “Alexa, 45 minute timer” and closed my eyes again.
I remember the beginning days, almost 30 years ago, when I used to pretend to try this. I remember what a battle even sitting still for five FIVE minutes was. A week and a half later the suddenness and time compression of that first 20 minute still has me spooked.
After work now I tend to take a quick shower, put on a pair of sweats and retire to my beanbag for a 45 minute clip. Call it 7 out of the last 10 days.
An interesting thing about meditation I’ve found, and I remember this from the early days as well, is how utterly fruitless it seems while doing it. Yes, remember to focus on my breath when I can. “When I can” is pretty damn rare.
And it’s funny. Because people’s explanations of the process of meditation “…aaannnd let your thoughts come and go…refocus on your breath….that’s it….” are true…as far as they go. But it makes it sound like you’re in a field on a cool September afternoon, encountering the occasional falling leaf on your nose, rather than the truth of your mind in the middle of a warzone of chaos and all the screaming demons of your past.
The only thing I can think to do is to not go out of my way to dive any deeper into what comes up. Don’t feed it. Every once in a while, between thoughts there’s an “oh right. breath.” pause.
So I don’t notice a thing. Not really. Until that telltale chime and I have to tell the Echo to stop. I almost literally don’t want to wake myself up to say “Alexa, stop.” once I open my eyes. Then it seems a shame I have to get up and reengage with the world.
Where the hell is this intensely mellow feeling when I’m sitting? It’s a function of contrasts, almost absolutely. I’m getting better at it and not aware of it from the subjective hyper-vigilant state I’m in during the process.
And it may be nothing more than the simple release from hanging so intently onto my thoughts that gives me the couple/few hours of ease afterwards.
I’m sure I had some point when I started typing this. But that was two hours ago and I’ve been trying to come up with an answer to “What’s The Cult’s best song?”
I can still “feel it”; that odd calm in the back of my head. I swear it’s a physical sensation.
Should be interesting to see what fruit the continued banging against the fortress of madness with so blunt and unforgiving an instrument as meditation will eventually yield.