Meditationally challenged

Meditationally challenged
Zach Hively - 07/23/2020
Like any of the dozens of human beings actively striving not to kill other human beings with my breath during these End Times, I stay home. This is not a radical shift in my life. In fact, this is not a shift in my life at all. The primary difference between my life in the before-times and now is that now I no longer have to fabricate excuses to back out of social engagements at the last minute. This is heaven.

But! No matter how heavenly it is to hermitize myself from the world, and no matter what kind of mask I wear, Weltschmerz is still contagious. Pardon me; that’s how my coughs sound these days. I was trying to say that I now know the feeling of having a lifetime supply of television footage on three streaming services all at my fingertips, yet still feeling the pain and suffering of knowing the rest of the world can watch even more shows on even more streaming services.

Yet none of these programs can backfill the ache in my soul. One’s spirit needs more meaning in life than an in-progress comic adaptation can provide before its final conclusion.

So four months into this Weltschmerz (excuse me again), I found my solution. I needed to take up meditation. Again.

You see, in these times, I read all my emails, even the ones from LinkedIn. So I also read the email about a One-Month Meditation Challenge. First of all, my several hours studying Buddhism never even indicated that one could win at meditation. A challenge implies victors and losers. I was intrigued. Second of all, that’s it. I just wanted to win at meditation.

So I signed up, and Day One came, and I forgot to log on to Zoom. But that’s okay! The leader sent me a recording to the meditation for me to watch later.

I didn’t watch it, but I COULD have watched it, which felt like a win considering I had not meditated in some time. No sense in overexerting and injuring myself the first day.

Or the second day, am I right?

The third day, I logged on at the appropriate time, and the meditation blissed me out. Within two minutes, I had connected to my breath and grounded through my seat and recalled the awe of Universal Oneness. Then I recalled that I meant to put orange juice on the grocery list. Then I recalled the theme song to “The Muppet Show,” but only the melody without the lyrics. Then I recalled the fascinating fact that elephants can pluck up a single grain of rice with their massive trunks.

Then the meditation was over, and one thing made itself clear to my spirit above all other things: I have so much life to live, and I needed to live it all while doing my lockdown to-do list.

Don’t ask me what is on my lockdown to-do list, because I do not know. But something is on it, because why else would I appear to be busy all the time? My time is so jam-packed that I have even begun setting an alarm – two alarms! – to make myself believe I will hear them and thus accomplish more.

This exuberant can-do attitude lasts until after breakfast. After breakfast, I might as well write off the day until tomorrow. Oh, I still accomplish some things in that time. I always remember to feed the dog, and I brush my teeth more often than not. I water the garden that, so far, despite my best attempts at pinning cool ideas on Pinterest, consists of one sunflower and a really tall weed. And then, it’s pretty much bedtime.

I often wish for a more fulfilling approach to life that would help me realize my potential every day while maximizing my time. A real quick fix would be nice. Something that could transform my existence in, oh, let’s say a month.
I never feel that I have time for meditation during my full pandemic life. But maybe, just maybe, I don’t have time NOT to meditate.

So I sat down the other day and played back one of those recordings. What do you know? Enlightenment DOES come from a screen. I meditated until I found peace. I let go of my to-do list. And I found relief, because finally, after all this time, I remembered that it’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

– Zach Hively

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