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:

8 thoughts on “The Opposite of meditation

  1. Patience is a virtue…except when it is an addictive computer add on, an extra that the programmers write in as harmless fun.

    I do what you do, too, though not as much as I used to. I used to spend whole days playing six by six patience, with real cards, so I can testify to the addiction here. Hopefully, you will be so sated, that you will finally feel sick and give up. Or, think of yourself, looking at a replay of your life, from the higher perspective of the hereafter. ….would you like to watch yourself stuck at a computer for hours, or would you rather rewind the spool to see a laughing girl who likes the feel of the wind on her face…? That works for me. I notice that, no matter how many games I lose, the machine says my average win percentage is 12%.

    Best of luck, kicking this one into the dustbin labelled, “Been there, done that!”

    You do not need to meditate, however it might help you to consciously slow down. Deliberate…

    Have a wonderful day.

    Ann )


    • It is silly. Yes, been there, done that- and when bored, I can reach out to it again. I want to meditate because I feel it does me good. I do not do it because it is the “right” or “noble” or “spiritually advanced” thing to do.


  2. Once, years ago, I had to delete the solitaire program from my computer… as well as the pinball game and the tetris game!

    I like your analogy about the alcohol swab on a wound. I certainly identify with the resistance to do this thing that I know feels so good when I do do it. There have been chapters for me where I connected with a group, scheduled meditation together. My current writing group is one such (we met this week, ’tis where I wrote today’s blog post). 🙂

    May meditation find you this week, Clare.

    PS – I like your new banner photo!


    • I went mad with Tetris on a ten year old games machine on a motorcaravan holiday one year. I had previously resisted the solitaire program on my computer. I have just been playing it now.

      Thank you. I was looking at the light in that lily, against the darker background, thinking it would make a good photo. I am really pleased with them- three, on random loop.

      I will report shortly on centering prayer and breathing meditation.


  3. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Wasted a lot of hours on the early Tomb Raiders, on a steam powered PC, sitting up until the small hours, and my good lady telling me what I was doing was mindless rubbish – but I could have said the same about watching two hours of soaps per night (not that I did of course). I wouldn’t worry. That you can catch yourself and analyse it this way tells me you’re okay. Just go with it. Have some mindless fun. It may not be meditation but I used to find it relaxing.

    Resistance to proper meditation? I know, me too. It makes me feel totally lacking in virtue but as I’m sure Confucius must have said, sometimes we just need a break from stuff.




    • Sod virtue. I do not care about virtue. I do not want to be “Good”. I have tested that aim to destruction, and it gets me nowhere, it is illusory. I think I am probably good enough, that generally my desires are for others to be happy, to have good human contact and a bit of excitement and some nourishing beauty- beyond that, I do not want to be anything that might be defined as “Good” apart from myself. The question is, what will please me?

      The thing about meditation, is, does it make me feel good? Does it advance my goals? Does it make me function better? I do not think Solitaire does any great harm, but if it means losing sleep and sleeping less well because I am overexcited, I am probably better to avoid it- not because I have any obligation to anyone else, but for my own comfort. Odd that that is not strong enough for me in the moment of clicking the Start button. Oh well, I keep analysing. Thank you for your sense of perspective.


  4. Meditation is the soulful thing to do for your soul. And spending just three minutes in it is healing. Do not make it a chore you put off. Simply close your eyes where you sit now and follow you breathe in and out, falling into the rhythm. You do not need a certain posture, incense or background music. “Listen” where you may.


    • Thank you for that. I am driven, I want to Do It Better- one reason why I avoid doing things at all- judgmental of myself, and want to do it Right- longer, less Monkey-mind, effective. Yes, listening, is this what I call being Present? I could just enjoy what time I give meditation, rather than have such high expectations.


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