Yup, meditation. I figured I already had a passing grade in sitting on my ass staring into space (so do you, it's called TV-watching), so I might as well have a look at formalising it.
I've been interested in meditation for a while. It showed up in the sci-fi books I write just under two decades ago. Like most of the **** I write about and actually know eff-all about, I glossed airily over the detail and concentrated on the plot line.
In Spring 2013, I finally decided it was time to learn something about this. I picked up Meditation for Dummies, read it, and tried it.
Why here? Why now? Not sure. Maybe it's an early-warning sign of an incipient mid-life crisis. However, if you want mind-altering and you aren't interested in death by slow poison, meditation is the way to go.
It's also, by and large, a solitary pursuit, which rocks my boat. I'm not a people person. Because I am obviously a masochist, I've been mostly ignoring all the professional advice about quiet space, setting time aside, etc.
I've been meditating on the bus. This is awesome for the following reasons:
1. It neatly avoids having to notice my fellow commuters (because)
2. It's a great excuse for sitting with my eyes closed and my headphones in.
2a. This conveniently gets me out of enlightening exchanges with Mrs. "Let me tell you about my grand-daughter", Mr. "Are you reading that book?" and Mr. Do you know where this bus is going?"
3. At least partly due to 1, 2 and 2a, it gets me to work in a reasonably de-stressed and entertained state.
It's less awesome because there's motion, you can't sit in a proper posture in a Translink seat (I'm certain they've been bribed by chiros and physios city-wide to design those chairs for hunch-backed gnomes), and Mrs. "You don't mind my (enormous) bag on your feet, do you?" and Mr. "My balls are SOOOO big, I have to try and spread my knees across 3 seats" are still an aspect of daily public transit.
Meditation for Dummies describes the environment I've chosen to meditate in as 'challenging'. I still think it's awesome. This is why. If I can manage to meditate for 20 minutes of my 45 minute bus-ride (the remainder is spent reading and rubbernecking at the awesome views along my commute route), on a Loser Cruiser, surrounded, tripped over, sneezed on, yawned at, sat on, slept on and used as a bag / folder / leg / elbow rest by fellow Loser Cruiser Users ... I CAN MEDITATE FREAKING ANYWHERE.
Am I interested in greater spiritual consciousness, enlightenment and the cosmos? Not really. Despite the latter half of Meditation for Dummies ... I'm just not into Higher Powers, or anyone else who figures I should run my life somehow different (it's called a problem with authority). I'm meditating because I'm curious. I want to see if my health, longevity (there's a tough one to prove), concentration and happiness index improve.
Apparently you can enrich your life. I'm taking that one metaphorically. And one day at a time.