Let’s talk more about that book Rush and the notes that I took. Here’s a quote:
If fifteen minutes of meditation is good, thirty minutes must be better.
That’s an example of linear thinking.
My latest guru, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, likes to talk about how we’re conditioned to think linearly, or maybe not conditioned, but we do it naturally. Thinking non-linearly makes things more complex. So we don’t like to do it. Of course we can all understand that a little of something might be beneficial and a lot of it might not, e.g. when people die from water poisoning after participating in water chugging contests. But it’s not our first thought.
To a point, I think that this talk about linear and non-linear is making things seem simpler than they are. But it’s a useful abstraction. Thinking in graphs and pictures, and even in words necessitates that the experience of life be flattened to some degree. But that’s a different post.
So anyway, I started meditating a few months ago for ten minutes a day. Not in a “let me lose my sense of self and join the all soul” kind of Frank Peretti “Eastern Mysticism” kind of way with candles, pentagrams, and weird music. Just sitting down for ten minutes and watching my thoughts.
What’s the point of that? I don’t know, people said it was good for me. And I think it has helped, after all. I used to think the way to change your life was to change your thoughts. This goes into all the positive affirmations and stuff like that that people use. But those things take a lot of discipline. You have to wake up and be willing to look like a weirdo while you yell at the mirror, “I feel great!”
And I suppose it works, but I was never able to do it and I beat myself up about that, too. I would wonder, “Why can’t I just change the way that I think so that my life could take a more positive direction?” And by positive direction I mean make a lot more money and go sit on the beach.
But anyways, with this meditation thing you don’t try to change your thoughts, you just notice them and eventually you realize how much of a hole your thoughts can lead you into and how often they do it. You start to realize how often you aren’t where ever you are and why you aren’t there, how instead you are somewhere in your head, analyzing what a stranger yelled at you from a moving car when you were seven years old and how that compares to the way a different stranger just looked in your direction.
Even as I’ve been noticing this and actively refraining from taking myself into these kinds of mental holes, I’ve been thinking to myself, quietly, the whole time: “I shouldn’t meditate for ten minutes, I should meditate for thirty minutes! Or more!”
Now it may be that thirty minutes is thrice as good as ten minutes, but who cares! Do you think I have thirty minutes to sit around? No way! So the ten minutes you can spend is as good as it’s going to get, you’re not doing yourself any favors torturing yourself about why you’re not spending more minutes.
Besides that, it didn’t occur to me to question the idea that thirty minutes would be better than ten minutes. It seemed self-evident.
However, with meditation and with many other things, I’m realizing that things take time. A lot of time, and a lot of consistent, seemingly insignificant effort. The important part is to not stop doing things, not to do a bunch of things all at once. Seven people can’t drive one car seven times faster than one person.
And anyway, why do I beat myself up about things like that? If I do a little, I think I should have done more. And here I’ve been meditating to try and notice when I do that; I didn’t even notice I was doing it about meditating!
So that was a useful little lesson from Rush.
I got fourteen other lines I took from the book, maybe I can get fourteen more posts.