An excerpt from the book Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts :
“In the widest sense of the word, to name is to interpret experience by the past, to translate it into terms of memory, to bind the unknown into the system of the known. Civilized man knows of hardly any other way of understanding things. Everybody, everything, has to have its label, its number, certificate, registration, classification. What is not classified is irregular, unpredictable, and danngerous. Without passport, birth certificate, or membership in some nation, one’s existence is not recognized. If you do not agree with the capitalists, they call you a communist, and vice versa. A person who agrees with neither point of view is fast becoming unintelligible.”
Meditation is difficult. It is not the process of meditation that is difficult— in fact, it’s easier than taking a morning walk around the house. It’s fun. Even I’ve done it ( The morning walk). The impossible task is to find the 15 minutes of the time that you need in a day to make that happen. Every time you make room for some time, your brain tells you to do something— something productive— or at least procrastinate—but your thoughts never leave you. There is absolutely no moment when thoughts entirely disappear. As soon as one fades away, another takes its place and makes you feel busy all the time. Even when you are doing nothing, you are thinking— mostly things that you never would have bothered if you were limited in time.
Most people think that meditation is eliminating all thoughts from your mind. I thought that too. That cannot be more wrong. Meditation is only acknowledging the thoughts that cross your mind, understanding them deeply, taking some moment to know what you feel, and getting some overall clarity on your life.
Meditation shows you what is real and what is superficial. It takes you to the present. The centre of flow of time. The point where past diffuses into the future. At that point, you experience thoughts differently. You see thoughts as— just that—thoughts. It would still be present. But it won’t bother you. You can examine them one by one. What each of them means, what emotions they elicit— happy or sad, and which are important, which are not etc.
I know. It’s almost magical. But more than anything, it works. It saves you so much time. It helps you (at least helped me) focus on only what is truly important and also to get better clarity on your life as a whole. Honestly, this is the most useful skill that you can teach yourself.
Here’s an article by Vox that I found interesting.
So, make some effort to take 15 minutes from your life and this 15 minutes would be the most valuable use of your time that day.
Also, Use headspace. Thank me later.
Long ago I found a seed,
And kept it in a glass of water,
And half forgot my dim intent
Until I saw it start to reach
For life with one blind, fragile root.
And then I pressed it into earth
And saw its tendrils seek the air,
So slowly that I hardly knew
Of any change till it had grown
A stalk, a leaf; and seemed to be
No more a thing in need of me,
But living by some sapience
I had not given, could not withdraw.
So it grew on, and days went by,
And seasons with their common gifts,
Till at the leafage of the year
I felt the sun cut off from me
By something thick outside my room—
Not yet a tree grown to the full,
Yet so endowed with need and will
It took the warmth and left me cold.
And first I climbed with hook and shears
To prune the boughs that darkened me
,But the tree was stubborner than I,
And where I clipped it grew again,
Brutal in purpose as a weed.
Nor did it give of fruit or flower,
Though seasons brought their common gifts,
And years went by. It only grew
Darker and denser to my view,
Taking whatever I would yield—
The homage of a troubled mind—
Requiring nothing, yet accepting
My willingness to guard its life
By the endurance of my own.
It gives me nothing: yet I see
Sometimes in dreams my enemy
Hanged by the hair upon that tree.