Monday, April 27, 2009

Meditation For The Non-Meditative Guy

"Have you considered meditation?"

"You know, I hear meditation helps."

"And doing a little meditation can't hurt."

Among the many pieces of advice I've received recently there has been a frequent theme. All of a sudden, vast numbers of friends and family are urging me to meditate.

Not that many of them have ever tried it for themselves. No. But, for me, they think it would be a very good thing indeed.

My cancer, it seems, has stirred vast numbers of personal acquaintances to read. They are finding articles on cancer all over the place; articles that would have slid past beneath their notice now leap off the page at them. And all of these articles recommend meditation.

Indeed, many of these articles are written by people who credit meditation with curing them of cancer. Or, at least, giving them comfort and shelter as they descend toward the ending of their lives.

"It will help give you a better attitude."

"Has my attitude been bad?"

"No, no, your attitude's been great. But that's just the shock of all this and your attitude's going to get bad as you go along and you owe it to Linda to learn how to keep this great attitude going."

Well, okay, you've hit a sore spot there. Even though this cancer was my body's idea, not mine, I do feel some guilt for this radical downward turn in Linda's life and for the evident pain this has been causing my family and friends. If I can avoid causing them any more discomfort, I will. "So how do I go about meditating?"

"Darned if I know."

So I went in search of meditation. I found classes that would gladly take my money, but my up-coming and utterly unpredictable hospital schedule wouldn't permit me to register. I found books, but in leafing through them, they all seemed to be offering different descriptions of meditative practice. Meditation, I discovered, isn't one thing, its a whole bunch of things. Many of them contradictory. Many of them being hawked by evident snake-oil salesmen.

I found on-line courses that would also delight in taking my money.

And then I found this guy, on YouTube. He has a six video series on How To Meditate that seems straight forward. He is formerly from Toronto so I find him easy to understand. The video series is well made and the steps to practice are clear.

But is this meditation? Is this the meditation people are urging me to undertake?

I know I have many commenters who have practiced meditation and benefited from it. I would certainly appreciate you're giving this a listen and letting me know if I'm on the right track. And if I'm not, could you let me know where to go to learn this seemingly simple, but evidently elusive art?

And what are your experiences with meditation? Has it benefited you in any way? If you meditate how did you learn to do it? Would putting some time into meditation benefit me, do you think? Or would I just feel an irresistible urge to dress in orange?

Let me know, people!