Following an enquiry from a friend, I was thinking about the benefit of a daily meditation practice. What you see when you sit still for half an hour is (a) streams of thought which largely amount to twaddle, which are (b) repetitive and recursive and (c) are interrupted by occasional moments of clarity when you seem to be observing the twaddle from somewhere outside it. The benefit in daily life? That at various points in the day you recognise that not only is this train of thought that posseses you at the moment familiar as being one of the streams of twaddle you’d noticed the other day in sitting, but also you were about to act on it. Hence, a moment of clarity in which you have a choice not to act on it.
Things that matter in early years of meditation practice but seem to matter less as time goes on:
- whether the streams of twaddle are ‘bad’ or ‘ok’, something to feel guilty about, something to feel proud of
- where or who you are in the moments in which you’re outside it
- whether it feels good or you feel like you’re achieving something.
Things that matter more:
- the length of the periods of clarity – 10 seconds seems like a long time
- the extent to which ‘who I am’ and ‘this is vitally important to me’ and ‘I must do this’ become uncovered and ‘outed’ as streams of compulsive twaddle. I am 99% twaddle (but my friends knew that anyway).
- the physical sensation of being a body which has an organ at the top that generates (seemingly) random bursts of electricity manifesting as thoughts
- the point at which you face the choice to act on a suddenly ‘seen’ stream of thought or not, and what that feels like.