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March 01, 2003

Bad Meditator

Friedrich --

Have you ever been a meditator? I've had stretches when I've done it regularly. I get a lot out of it, though saying that apparently makes me a bad meditator -- a true Zen type doesn't have reasons to meditate, he just meditates. Me, I meditate for more than a few reasons, and probably wouldn't meditate at all if I didn't have them. Nonetheless, I've still managed to have the occasional meditation-bestowed moment of revelation. The latest: that, while I'll certainly never reach enlightenment in this lifetime (because I meditate for reasons), maybe that's OK. Well, anyway, in Michael Blowhard-land, that's the kind of thing I choose to regard as a revelation.

Superficial soul that I am, I meditate because, when I do, I'm a little happier, a little more resilient, a little less bugged by ego-nagging; I'm probably a little nicer to other people, too. Those are the main benefits. Another benefit -- much more minor, but one that I still appreciate -- is the way it helps me deal with dead time. A meeting has gotten boring? The subway is taking its time showing up? A friend is late for lunch? Instead of tapping my foot and nursing a feeling of annoyance, I'll try to pay attention to my breath.

Which is still, admittedly, a very boring way to spend time. But it's something to do that's presumably worthwhile, and it's not boring/boring. It's interesting/boring.



posted by Michael at March 1, 2003


Ha, I'm a bad Zen Buddhist. Zen meditation's no walk in the park. But, come on, Michael, you'll be enlightened in this lifetime. A cinch.

Posted by: Jim on March 1, 2003 11:59 PM

I tried meditation about twenty years ago. It didn't seem to do a whole lot for me then, but God knows I could use a technique to better manage my ever-volatile emotions. I suppose I should give it a try--along with, no doubt, some kind of total life makeover. (Of course, I'm writing this sitting at my desk first thing Monday morning, so I'll probably have changed my mind in 24 hours.)

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on March 3, 2003 11:08 AM

I'm just indulging my false modesty. In fact, englightenment struck me some years ago. Not-funny joke. Really, I like meditating because I find it useful, and interesting in a kind of mild way. I tried Zen-style meditating and it was too rough and austere for me. Eventually found Vipassana -- still Buddhist but somewhat more plausible, given my half-assed temperament.

So Jim's a philosopher who follows Eastern thought/religion/philosophy/whatever? And he hasn't gotten into this on his blog? After John Kekes -- Zen! I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 3, 2003 9:03 PM

My two specialties are ethics and Chinese philosophy. Philosoblog is just about American moral philosophy. But I did have a post on Zen a few months back.

Now if I could just get off my ass and get on my ass and meditate. But The Simpsons is on.

Posted by: Jim on March 3, 2003 10:20 PM

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