Monday, October 9, 2023

Mindfulness meditation at the bottom.

 Let's be honest, we all reach the end of our rope at times.  Options like nihilism ("I just don't care"), or alcoholism ("all I need is a drink"), or binge eating, or even, perish the thought, suicidality -- all of these can creep into our lives if pushed hard enough.

One of the ways that I think about mindfulness meditation comes from the term "zero cultures". Sam Harris uses it to describe cultures that, unlike our American puritanism, are cultures where nothing, as manifest by mediation practice, in and of itself is an achievement.

As an alternative to any of the above behaviors, having a practice that allows you to get closer to cessation that is also positive, healthy, forward moving, not to mention addictive, pleasurable -- being able to say to yourself, "rather than doing something I would regret later (if I lived to tell the tale), let me do something in the present that is both positive but also offers some sense of relief." That is a useful tool to have in the toolkit.

The one caveat I have to say here though is that just meditating in times of crisis hasn't worked for me in the past.  It's not enough to just sit when I really need to.  For me it requires an actual, regular, meditation practice for it to be deployable as a technique in crisis.