The Opposite of meditation
“Don’t give up- fall down,” said a Sensei: that is, do not just stop, carry on until you cannot go further. The messenger from Marathon died as he told of victory. I hold back for a number of reasons. My procrastination comes from a desire to hold onto a fantasy of perfection: if I never perform the task, I do not need to compare my actual result to that fantasy. Possibly also I hold back because I do not want to hurt anyone.
Andy has the skill to block my blows. Therefore, I want to let go of my control completely, and try to hit him as hard as I can. What I desire is to put all my effort into that simple aim of hurting him and knocking him out of my way. I imagine that this experience will be good for me.
A man I met, in his late twenties, spent all his time playing video games. He was on the sick, getting £90 a week to live on, and his rent paid. He did not go out. He was very good at it. Recently, I played a hundred games of solitaire in 24 hours, with a poor success rate.
This is the opposite of meditation. Rather than letting my mind go blank and being aware, I block out awareness and concentrate on the screen. I have a little “Oooh” of pleasure each time I turn one of the cards in the spread over. The way I learned was less restricted: unless the stock had a number divisible by three, one could access the whole stock by working through it three times. The restriction on my computer makes it more unlikely to succeed, without increasing the challenge. Actually, I can see little skill in it at all. Unless I set myself to memorising the cards, and so working out what was face down in the spread, I cannot see how I can see more than one move ahead. As I have not learned the necessary memory tricks, the skills to succeed (as far as I can) in this game are trivial. And yet I play it over and over again, missing lunch, late with dinner, and sit up to 1.30 am. When I look at the clock, I despise myself, I must go to bed. Hours are chewed up by this pointless, repetitive, obsessive activity, learning nothing, with far more frustration than pleasure, and all the pleasure over in an instant, a hit and it is gone. I am the laboratory rat who presses a lever rigged up to stimulate the pleasure centres of my brain, rather than a lever to produce food on the other side of the cage, and so starves myself to death.
Oh, I need to meditate! It is common enough, I hear similar complaints from others. I know I need to meditate, yet never get round to it. It is like cleansing a wound with an alcohol swab: it will do good, I know, and yet in the moment of starting it will be painful, and I put off that moment of starting.
If you know how to make the game properly skillful, please let me know. Though the pictures are pretty: