Meditation is dance

The toughest thing about meditating is that the act of concentrate is already a big part of my thought, thus the harder I try to “meditate,” the more difficult it becomes to stay in the moment.

My mind is covered by layers of thoughts and images and music. When I meditate, there is always a music—no, muzak—running around, a pop tune ghost from the past. The latest one is shown below. Herself is totally meditative I believe, but watching, er, listening to, her isn’t, at my level.

Trying to concentrate in that state by “trying” is just closing the curtain in front of an obnoxious TV set without turning it off. I just add another mental shield to shut myself out, just like I do in my daily life when I encounter uncomfortable events.

The meditative practice turns into an enabling session with a “clinic” sign hanging outside. I enter, lying to myself that I am silencing my chatter (through another chatter called concentration), and get out, becoming energized and even more addictive.

What I need is the opposite: remove all the mental layers until I expose my naked self. The difficult part again is that the “removing” tool itself is another layer, thus by trying to remove I am adding more…the vicious circle continues.

Add to the picture the usual routine of daily worry about my assignments, coffee machine, billing and filing, appointments, and the nagging complaints from my left leg, I usually am left without a clue. Too many mental noises cover my brain, which makes me want to shout…ENOUGH, inside.

And that’s when the unveiling starts. I turn off the TV switch because I don’t want it anymore. I say I-don’t-care to my assignments (this one is easy :) , errands, and even my leg. I am fed up with my noise, and that is the beginning of getting into the “moment.”

When I enter (a brief) meditative moment, my body warms up and the central-frontal part of my brain starts to react comfortably, as if sending a massage signal around. I feel everything is in movement but still at the same time. I observe the world’s multiple faces with curiosity. I am peaceful or tranquil, but that’s in the background. It is…just fun.

Because any “should” is a mental layer in itself, what I need to concentrate in its true sense is to rid of all “shoulds,” even the concentration itself. I enter a meditative state just because I want to. In fact, the key to having a good meditation is to do it because it feels good. The principle looks no different from making love or striking a conversation or getting a fun ride.

Personally, my biggest obstacle for meditation has been my inability to just enjoy. I took/take every activity, be it work, fun, or meditation with the “opportunity” flavor, attaching unnecessary obligations and objectives to it. I was/am a master of turning everything into a duty and putting an iron to my leg, and then whine for not being able to do what I truly wanted. Dumbass.

I am now suspecting that the true reason meditation works is because it is so fxxking enjoyable. Those monks up in the mountain, secluded from modern life, aren’t doing what they do (for free) because they want to better themselves. They are having the greatest pleasure we can imagine—it is that they don’t want to say it too loud (who is going to produce their food otherwise?).

Any leisure activity requires us a period of training before we become capable of enjoying it: surfing, golf, playing the guitar, painting, or sex. I think in essence there is no difference between Shakira’s dance and meditation. Get rid of yourself and have fun—that’s all there is.

It is that simple, and it isn’t just us who wants to have fun.

And then it occurred to me: maybe the Universe wants more from us than just our time. Maybe the Universe gets pissed off when we show up for dinner but don’t stay to talk. Maybe the Universe needs the connection to us just as much as we need that connection to something greater than ourselves.

It is all about dancing with the universe. Some people do it through body movement because they can. I try to (ouch) go my way in a sitting position (though I want to catch up on the body aspect too).

(A video introduced by a friend of mine: Daft Punk is meditative, definitely)

  • http://psychanaut.wordpress.com/ Nick H

    How do you reconcile the moment for moment sake-legacy of Zen with individual only existing for the sake of group and others’ contributions in Nippon?

    • http://isaokato.com/ Isao

      Here is my thought. I believe Japan used to be quite an individual-oriented, or in other words fragmented society, consisting of hundreds of small communities—just like Italy. Although we never had the “individualism” in the Western sense, we did have a strong mentality of “whatever works” (maybe we still have) that allowed us to get through the days cutting corners, finding shortcuts, and just doing things that matters now. That flexibility might work well with Zen spirit (be in the present) and unfortunately both has been almost lost in present day Japan…