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Why I Meditate, Or How I Beat The Brain Hamsters Into Submission


I'm back on my meditation kick. It tends to sound a little suspect, especially if you're not from California, but meditation is just the hemp-wearing cousin of your standard Baptist-approved prayer: quiet your brain and connect with something larger than yourself. It all comes from the same place, really - the basic human desire to live a good life, not piss off the gods, and maybe get a pony. It's also good for politely requesting custom-fit muzzles for the hamsters in your brain, the ones that think they know all the answers but really just don't.

Brain Hamsters: You're not very good at this thing you do. Yes, that one. Also, you're almost 33. Shouldn't you have a kid by now?

Me: Not listening.

Brain Hamsters: You know who is good at that thing you do? This other person. The one who's not you.

Me: Still not listening. Ommm.

Brain Hamsters: You should cut your hair. You'll never meet someone when your hair looks like that. At least buy some hair spray. Don't you want to meet a nice man? I mean, you'll need him to support you because you still aren't very good at that thing you do. Yes, that one.


Brain Hamsters: You're not very good at meditating, are you?

Brain Hamsters are like your cranky Aunt Mildred, the one who shows up to Thanksgiving and leaves bright orange lip prints on your cheek before asking why you're drinking whisky - it kills eggs you know, and yours aren't getting any younger. Brain Hamsters and Aunt Mildred really do want what's best for you - but sadly for everyone involved, neither Brain Hamsters nor Aunt Mildred have any bloody idea what that is.

So you have to figure it out. Hooray for personal responsibility! Also, for getting to decide what's true for you.

I treat my brain as a separate, anthropomorphized entity - it keeps me from getting all enmeshed in its drama. But everyone kicks the ass of the Brain Hamster differently - jogging, knitting cat hammocks and putting them on Etsy, reading novels, sending so many texts that AT&T threatens to repossess your car. Whatever works. It's a different combination for everyone. I happen to like meditation.*

* And exercise and reading and sending so many texts AT&T threatens to repossess my car. Actually, they just send me dire warnings about changing my plan unless I want to pay through the nose because obviously I don't have a firm grip on my phone habits.

Yard at the homestead

Backyard where I grew up. I mean, I didn't grow up in the backyard. They let me in the house occasionally, for meals and such. Anyway, peaceful, yes? At least until the squirrels launch another carefully plotted bird-feeder strike.

Here's Why I Like Meditation, If You Want To Know

Sometimes it plucks some important thing I had to do out of the recesses of my lapsed memory. So I pop up to do it, completely forgetting the whole point of meditation, where my only task is STAY IN YOUR DAMN SEAT. Sometimes it really does make me feel like a better version of myself. Sometimes it just annoys me. But that's good too, because then I have to question why I'm annoyed. Sometimes it's so relaxing I feel like tossed back some illegally-obtained South American pharmaceutical and put the Brain Hamsters into a medicinally-induced coma.

When the Brain Hamsters are napping, sometimes I get answers, answers I can't hear otherwise.