Tag Archives: meditation

Seek Not Oblivion

            I like to meditate, and I’ve done it daily for years, so I enjoy reading about meditation and Buddhism.  Not too long ago I read an excellent tome by a Buddhist master (whose name I can’t recall) which pointed out some of the pitfalls one should avoid in meditation.  I don’t remember them all, but one of them I found quite interesting.  He stressed that one should avoid “oblivion”—which would be, as I understood it, complete lack of consciousness.  I was surprised to read this because “oblivion,” I realized, was what I had always strived for—to be “zoned out” communing with the One.  I still wonder if a being could experience enlightenment without at least passing through this stage.  I’ve thought a great deal about it since, and this morning I realized something:  in our society today, we are often seeking oblivion.

            Once, when I was a bartender, I ran into a regular customer at the park, and he was talking about his favorite brand of beer, “after a six-pack I am GONE.”  Apparently his goal wasn’t to relax and have fun, but to reach oblivion.  I would guess that most drug users are also seeking oblivion, but there are various acceptable ways we seek it every day.  People can “zone out” in front of the TV and not remember what they just watched, or they can get so into a video game that reality melts away.  Just last week a blogger was advising to eat what you want as long as you remain “there.”  She explained that the big problem with overeating is losing your self while eating.  Virtually any activity or non-activity can lead to oblivion.

            I have heard that the main argument for humans dominating all other species is that we alone are conscious.  If that is true, then we should strive to maintain our consciousness as much as possible.  So I must ask—are you conscious?  Ever thought about how often you are conscious?  Its much more than just being awake.  Let us seek consciousness.


Perfect Storm

 

 

        

              If you look at a chart of the stock market spanning the last 10 years, the lowest point for the S&P500 was around March 1, 2009.  That just happened to coincide with the moment my marriage fell apart.  I was exhausted from a hard week at work, trying to train an incredibly dense new employee.  My wife happened to be suffering from her monthly experience, and my son of five years happened to be at his most irritating stage of life.  He hadn’t yet acquired the skill of telling when an adult is getting angry.  I had to yell at him, she had to yell at me, and suddenly I had a momentary emotional breakdown.  I’m not a violent person, and I would never say abusive things to anyone, but I can yell pretty damn loud when I want to.  It was only a few seconds, but it was devastating.  Apparently, my wife had been significantly more unhappy with our marriage than she had ever communicated to me.  It was over, just like that.

 

            Here’s the interesting part: she had nowhere to go.  All of her family lives in Peru (you can see why she was unhappy.)  She had no job, and I didn’t make enough to support one household, much less two.  I certainly wasn’t going to say “O.K. , here’s $2000 for plane tickets to Peru, so you can take my son away from me.”  I didn’t even want a divorce, so I just left her alone with her conundrum.  I moved into the guest room/ art studio.

 

            We lived that way for three full years.  The amazing thing was—it was not bad at all.  We love our son, so we made it work for his sake.  Oh there was certainly a long period of resentment, and I found myself behaving like I did long ago when I was feuding with a roommate—you know, pushing their buttons, leaving them work that you could easily take care of yourself.  Then I just asked myself, “Why am I doing this?  There’s no law that you have to hate your ex-wife.”  So I stopped it all.

 

            I suppose it was easier for me than it would be for most, because I’ve been meditating for years.  I recite to myself, every morning, the prayer of St. Francis:

 

            Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace;  where there is hate, let me sow Love;  where there is injury—Pardon;  where there is despair—Hope;  where there is doubt—Faith;  where there is darkness—Light;  where there is sadness—Joy…..

 

            It’s a good reminder of how I want to live, even though our society programs us to be combative.  I actually love everyone.  I certainly abhor the things that most people do, but I don’t blame them for their behavior.  We are programmed, and years of programming is difficult to purge.  I just pray that more people can break the cycle.  My ex and I have taught our son that divorce doesn’t have to be full of hate.  Now I want to pass on to you the knowledge—it is possible.  Don’t assume that you have to behave the way people expect you to behave.  Choose the good path.  You’ll be glad you did.

check out my website: http://www.artbylowell.com

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: