Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deeeeep Thought

I have a lot of decorative thoughts.  I'm always adding extra atmosphere to my experience, thinking about what is happening to me with kind of a theme in mind.  I don't know if I can explain it better than that but I'll try and maybe you'll understand what I'm talking about.

For example, back in the early 80's I usually had a sort of apocalyptic, sci-fi, futuristic filter with blocks of neon colors that I tried to see things through.  The pop culture of the time, music, movies, music videos, helped to enhance this.  It made things seem more romantic and important I guess.  It helped take my mind off the suckiness of adolescence.

More recently I'll use a more gothic approach or try to see things as magical or mysterious.  Sometimes I'll go kawaii and think of everything in terms of puffiness, sparkliness, light, sugar, artificiality and high oxygen.

I guess I've always wondered what reality would be like if I looked at it this way or that way.  I don't think I can manage a full-on, hallucinogenic invention of reality - just a superimposed what-if scrim to look through.  It seemed like a good modus operandi for a person who is trying to make things.

I imagine that anybody who has a distinctive fashion style does the same thing: Steam Punks, Goths, Rockabilly folks, surfers, minimalists, Martha Stewart acolytes, etc.

The goal of meditation is to have the practitioner  experience "the moment," unadulterated, while meditating.  Eventually the goal is to live constantly in the moment.  This, you can see, is the antithesis of my mental practice of a lifetime.

Supposedly it is better to experience life as it really is (whatever that means) so that one can act and feel appropriately.

That's logical, I guess, but what about imagination?

Clearly I don't know.  Maybe it's true and if everybody lived always in the moment no one would cause anybody else any hardship.  Unavoidable difficulties would always be dealt with philosophically and peacefully.  Then we wouldn't need imagination.  (No imagination sounds dreadful to me)

It seems very unlikely that that will ever happen.  What I want to know is is it really better for me, right now, to live in unadulterated reality?

I'm trying it and it's really hard.  I feel impoverished.  "Real life" isn't doing it for me.  I'm not even sure it is "real life."  What if what I'm experiencing now is just a different aesthetic interpretation?  One that is less to my taste yet still one that I have chosen for myself?

It's putting me in a really crappy mood and making it harder for me to get any art work done.  Supposedly if I keep at not making my life feel more comfortable than it really is the things that aren't working in my life will become apparent and I will be able to act on them.

The problem is I'm not very good at acting when I can't get out of bed due to depression.  I'm uncomfortable but I don't exactly know why.  I certainly don't know what to do about it.  There has to be some sort of balance or incremental reward to doing this.  Or else maybe I shouldn't be trying to take it that far.

That's probably the key.  Keep the mindfulness to the meditation time and let that slowly change how I think at a pace that I can deal with.  I can be a goofy as I like the rest of the time.

Whoo!  Alright!  I can paint myself pretty pictures again!

Did I really figure this out or did I just let myself off the hook?

Has anybody out there tried this?  Do you have any insights?  I'd love to know.


Michaela @ The Gardener's Eden said...

I am going on record here in support of fantasy. See, I believe that fantasy is a completely natural, and totally normal part of the artistic and creative mind. If people never fantasized... what would we have? No pyramids. No Great Wall. No rockets. No Sistine Chapel. No caramel. No mangotinis. No gardens. Nothing. That sounds like a super drag to me. I mean, loin cloths and berries only go so far. Someone had to dream up champagne and tall flutes, right? Dream on... life without dreams is a nightmare.

Melissa said...

Thank you, Voice Of True Wisdom!

John Gregg said...

Hi, Mel-

I am a bad, infrequent meditator, but that doesn't stop me from tediously prosthelytizing anyway. You aren't the first person to voice the concern to me that meditation will throw something valuable overboard, but I assure you it doesn't work like that. It's just like working out - you develop a muscle, and it doesn't weaken the other muscles you use more often. The first few times you do it, the muscle you use will be sore, since it is badly atrophied in most of us, but it's a useful, good muscle. As for the "in the moment" thing, I personally am a spaz - borderline ADHD (like most people, I think). One thing meditating does is it makes you slightly more aware of your body, and what it's doing at any given moment. Usually I'm too antsy to notice, and my mind races ahead or lags behind, and my now somewhat more developed meditating muscle helps me actually be in sync with now. Like I actually pay attention when people talk to me, mostly. Meditation gives you a bit more control, or at least awareness of your mind and emotions, and does not inhibit creativity. I'd certainly try a serious meditation program for some time before I tried any of the pharmaceuticals - they, I think, really do throw the creative baby out with the emotional bathwater.

Personally, I love Chip at the Arlington Center on Mass. Ave ( Former jazz musician, a couple of grown kids, very friendly, and you can just drop in on Tuesday evenings as a walk-in. It definitely helps (perhaps essential) to be taught person-to-person, at least at first.

OK, I'm done prothelytizing now . . .


Melissa said...

Thanks John. That explains a lot. I wasn't thinking about how in meditation the goal is to be aware of one's thoughts and emotions, not to control (or stop) them.

Thanks also for the recommendation. I've been doing it all on my own with books. It seems like it's pretty easy to get the wrong idea that way.

I have definitely found the small amount of meditating I've done to be helpful. I wasn't thinking of stopping. But I will stop trying not to daydream.