5/10/2017: Blissed out

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.

4 thoughts on “5/10/2017: Blissed out”

  1. Interesting, I messed around a bit with meditation too in the 90’s. Although it was a different sort, more of a self-hypnosis type of thing…so maybe not mediation at all. I dunno, whatever.
    I’d read an article in a magazine in the early 90’s about techniques to increase chances of “lucid dreaming” and initiating self-induced trances. Sounded interesting so I tried it.

    The method described with was one of lying down on a couch or bed and a process of intense concentration on relaxing specific parts of the body starting from the toes on up. If you’ve read the scifi “Dune” series think of a prana-bindu kind of thing. It’s not easy and also kind of boring…until I found IT – the little trapdoor in the back of my head. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. When I find that door I have the distinct sensation of sliding out of my body and through whatever I’m laying on. I’m also vaguely aware that my body goes absolutely rigid. It’s so strange.

    Looking back I think I managed to do it maybe 6-7 times and each experience was very different. The first time I found myself in a weird library-type space that could have been designed by M.C. Escher: endless banks of bookcases that you couldn’t see the tops of – they just sort of twisted around each other and off into the darkness. And they were all stuffed with things…it took me a bit to figure out what they were: memories. Or rather the memory of things I’d owned at some time. The nearest case had lots of stuff from my childhood: toys I hadn’t thought of in years. I could pick them up. They felt exactly like the real things. And they were all perfectly detailed, like right down to the chipped paint on a well-loved airplane. It was amazing. I’d read some where that it was thought that our brains have the capacity to remember everything we do in our lives. I’m certain that this is true because I saw it for myself. Anyway, in the “middle” of the dimly lit (oddly no sources of light though) space there was a table and it was full of stuff that I’d used recently. They hadn’t been put back up on the shelves yet I guess. And then I noticed that I was there too, another me that is. And he was watching me. I could tell other-me wasn’t happy I was there. We had a short conversation and I figured out the other-me was my subconscious. He wanted to know what I was doing there and when I was going to leave. Also he didn’t like me touching things. There were a few other items on the table that looked really interesting and strange. He wouldn’t let me touch those at all. Anyway he kicked me out after a bit but before I left I asked if I could come back and talk again. “Maybe” was the reply though he didn’t seem enthused about the idea. I never found that place again.

    At the end of it I just slid back into my body and got up. The whole thing took a couple hours. It wasn’t a dream and it certainly wasn’t very restful. My jaw ached – a side effect of going rigid is gritting my teeth really hard. I didn’t care for that part at all. If I ever do it again I’d want a mouth guard.

  2. I have to digest that a bit. There was a time where I would have just rolled my eyes at it. But that’s long gone. Would you otherwise consider yourself a visual thinker? I can’t imagine myself having an experience like that.

    Wanna read something interesting that’s going to sound completely unrelated? Read Think And Grow Rich. It’s a good read (if a bit archaic in language) regardless. But the last couple chapters really sent me for an interesting loop. He talks about a set of “creative visualization” (for lack of a more accurate term) exercises that frightened him with the way they took off.

    1. Yeah, it reads like copypasta straight out of /r/ThatHappened I know. And yet…that happened. You should post it there and see how much karma you can reap! Anyway, yes – VERY visual. I make my living as a data analyst but was a nartist in a former life. You can check out some of my stuff at my website (I put it in the box down below). It’s very incomplete and badly out of date but you might find some of it interesting.

      I’ll check out the book, I often like to think about being rich :-D.

      1. See that all makes perfect sense to me because I’m not generally a visual thinker. So those kinds of things always make me a little green. Besides, I’ve been 1st person to more than my fair share of drug-free waking weird shit in my time to be too critical.

        (Spent FAR too long trying to figure out what a Nartist was.)

        But as far as Napoleon Hill goes, every work on self-betterment I’ve read written since (upwards of a few hundred) are directly derivative of Think And Grow Rich. But the end is…topical.

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