the sky over the gatineau hills.

the sky over the gatineau hills.
graham law.

the sky over the hills.

the sky over the hills.
graham law.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

why meditation.

the water stopped working in my house on saturday evening. i figured i'd be left high and dry at least until monday. so i strategically positioned a bucket outside and hoped for rain. then i went to bed.

our local plumber, the erstwhile mr. peter hogan, however, was nice enough to come over even on a sunday morning. he figured out the problem within a minute and temporarily fixed it up for me. he suggested i turn the central tap off when i wasn't using water until he returned with the new equipment required. later that same day, having just turned the water off, i walked back upstairs, began to rinse a dish and was shocked, absolutely shocked that the goxxaxnxd water was again not working. yes, within a minute i had forgotten that i'd turned the central tap off.

after recounting that story to my buddy, the renowned quebec painter john f marok, he suggested that perhaps i'm living too much in the present moment. then i found myself wondering about the difference between living in the present moment and senility. maybe there isn't much of a difference. somebody asked me recently what the difference is between the states of deep meditation and deep sleep. it was a valid question and i had to admit that, as far as i can tell, not much. what's the difference between love and attachment? again, not much.

the question i get all the time is: 'why do you meditate?' actually, i hardly ever get asked that. mostly, i get asked: 'why don't you eat fish?' sometimes i get asked: 'how often do you get up to pee in the night?' nevertheless, once in a while i get asked the meditation question and i always say something glib like: 'it's better than booze.' but, really, why do i meditate? is it to experience the inter-connectedness of all life? is it to experience our source? is it to experience an unbroken and unshakable sense of well-being? or is it simply because it's better than booze?

in the vedantic texts of the hindu religion, it is written that there is a state of consciousness reached in meditation that is called 'samadhi,' 'moksh' or 'kaivalya'. at that point, apparently, the yogi is free from all desires, bondages and has attained absolute pure consciousness. in the 'pali canon' of the thervadan buddhists, it is suggested that meditation is a way to reach 'nirvana,' a state of imperturbable stillness of mind with the cessation of desires, aversions and delusions. all the great religions and philosophies have ideas we could argue about until the cows come home.

be that as it may, there is a subtle and not so subtle difference between being in the moment and dimentia, deep meditation and deep sleep, pure love and attachment. however, i meditate really because it is, in fact, better than booze. of course, i do appreciate the sense of well-being, the perception of oneness, all that and more. but, i'm not a vendor of meditation any more than i am a seller of booze. as far as i'm concerned, whatever path one walks along that leads to well-being and a sense of oneness, is 'meditation'. and when someone like peter gives up his sunday morning to help a neighbor, i am reminded of the fact.

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