Just For Tonight, I Will Try to Be Kind

I started using the Headspace App a few months ago and have been fairly consistent in meditating for ten minutes every day. They have the option to increase the amount of time, but I haven’t tried to commit more than ten minutes. More than ten minutes and I’m likely to think I haven’t got the time for it.

I started out really well, I think, and then after a while I was less good at it, falling asleep a lot, letting my mind wander all the time. Andy, the Headspace guy, says you’ve got to train the mind even when you’re not meditating. Well, he doesn’t say it like that. He always says use a gentle touch with the mind. He says you should be noticing when you’re indulging in thoughts that take you away from the present moment and seek to gently bring yourself back to the present moment. So anyway I got to the point where I was letting my mind wander as much as I had been before I started “training my mind.”

But a few days ago I decided to “give it another go” and “get serious” again. Side note, does putting cliches in quotes absolve you of the literary crime of using them? “Fuck it.” Haven’t we been down this road before…

So anyway, I’m meditating on different kinds of “happiness,” as silly as that sounds. Yesterday, Andy said that I couldn’t feel happy if I was simultaneously being unkind towards anyone. And he said I also count as someone that I shouldn’t be unkind towards.

Today at work I tried to be kind to everyone, including myself. It worked well, even when I found it a struggle for a few moments when some customers seemed to respond with vitriol and condescension, and even when I forgot to keep “being kind” at the forefront of my mind.

One thing I tried to realize is that being kind to everyone and yourself doesn’t mean self-abnegation. It doesn’t mean you have to be subservient or obsequious. What’s the right way to balance being kind to an asshole and being kind to yourself…not sure yet.

But I’ll work on it. In the meantime, I’m on break, sitting in the sunlight and feeling good about the morning, which is not something to be taken for granted.

Paul Graham said that anyone who insults us hurts us twice, the first time when they insult us and the second time for however long we ruminate on it. By focusing constantly on kindness, you don’t have a lot of time to get hurt in the second way. Also, in regards to yesterdays’ rant about customer service and finding a way out of it, Bob Dylan says that everyone has to serve someone. And that’s really ok, because being waited on all the time makes me uncomfortable anyway. It’s good to serve other people out of our own free will and kindness, not out of avarice and not with bitterness. Is it possible to serve people at your job while feeling like you’re doing it out of the “kindnessĀ of your heart?” Maybe.

But in any case, it will be good to eliminate bitterness from my life, if possible, because Benedict Cumberbatch was right when he said, “Bitterness is a paralytic.” I think I’ve written a post about that, but I forgot about it until now. Maybe I have not made much progress in my career because I am bitter about the past, how I graduated college at the wrong time; how I took on too much debt for no reason; how I didn’t pay attention in school; how I didn’t put in enough resumes last year, or the year before that or the year before that. Translating that bitterness towards the customers gives it fresh life and keeps me from breaking free.

Now, I’ve tried to be positive about customers before, and that fails after a while. But maybe the way is not to be positive about what they’re doing, or who they are, because after all you can’t know those things, and when you think about it nearly everyone is as clever and complex as you are, but anyway to disregard all that and focus on what you can control, how kind you are to them and to yourself, that may be the way. So if someone berates you unfairly, not to stand there and take it as if you deserved it, but rather to return to them a kind response and to remind yourself that you don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and move on. Any thought you have about their hopefully impending horrible death is fine, you’re allowed to have the thought, since thoughts don’t define who you are, but at the same time you don’t want to leave the present and walk very far down into that fantasy.

And you especially don’t want to do it and rationalize it by telling yourself that it will make good material for a story, since bitterness the paralytic will keep you from writing any stories.

So for me I will not seek to understand people tonight at work, only to be kind towards them and towards myself. We’ll see how happy I am at the end of the shift.

Blood Above

The more you search for something elusive the more elusive the something becomes, the more frustratation takes a hold. You’ve nothing to say after two weeks, you’ve nothing more to say after a couple of drinks. No one cares. You were fun, you were fun, and now you’re not.

I remember a table with books on it and a couple of flowers outside of vases, you knew they’d die soon anyway. You didn’t like flowers because they died, you didn’t like pets, you didn’t like drinking because of hangovers. You thought of the end constantly.

The more you thought about it the more you thought about it. The more you thought about it, then you’d think about it again. You had no discipline. It was no wonder what happened. It was no wonder. You’d think about anything. I told you what to think about, but you would think about anything else.

I remember a shadow growing where there should have been light. We were amazed and our friends laughed. The man on stage called it science but later I dreamt of a black horse and I never do that. I never dream of horses. I remember your sister had a horse. Where is she now? Gone with the rest of the wild ones, I guess. I can’t remember whatever happened.

I remember some things, though, I really do, I know you were there. I hope you come back. I hope you don’t come back. I don’t know why I thought about you so much. I’m done thinking about it, really, I am. The more I think about it, the more I look for you, I know, I lied, I do.

I do that.

What about that time, with the coffeemaker, that one from France? I remember the lady telling me that I needed one. She was bold. She was so bold, that lady, some people are like that and make an impression. But I don’t care anything for that lady and her boldness, not a bit, and so I think about her often.

The more you search for something elusive the more you search and the more I look for that old lady in people passing by.  She’s easier to spot than you. I’ll never see you if I can help it. 

Sometimes I can’t.

My Discomfort is Comforting?

I’ve heard that physical comfort is detrimental to living things in the long run. Without stressors, humans shut down and start dying. Why not? Keep everything in stasis.

Stasis has many definitions, four at least: “a stoppage of the blood”, “retention of feces”, “equilibrium”, and “a period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change in a lineage occurs”.

So then I thought maybe mental comfort is detrimental, too. A quiet mind is a dying mind. Then again “not dying” isn’t the only thing in life. In fact, maybe focusing so much on not dying is making life miserable. Extension of life at all costs. Dunbar from Catch-22, kale, and chemotherapy.

Ah well. Nothing quiet about this mind at the moment.

I don’t meditate as much as I did before, but still probably four times a week on average. What I’ve learned from that is how I go about falling asleep.

I Took Pictures of Cats Some Days

Cats are very photogenic. That is nice for them. Or for us maybe.

I started meditating three days ago with the headspace app. A coworker recommended it to me and it was easier than the last time a coworker recommended something to me so I did it. Easier than therapy. Another coworker told me that Xanax is actually for anxiety and not depression. What is depression anyways. Or anxiety.

Goddamn right cats are endlessly photographable. Fucking ridiculous, are cats.

Yesterday on the train, going up the stairs, there was a guy playing one of those Asian instruments with the long strings, you know, and I rode up the escalator and I thought something that I just forgot because I was thinking of those instruments. Good god damn Christ I just literally did forget…

Now I remember. It wasn’t to do with cats, I was thinking that maybe I should start believing that everything happens for a reason. I should start thinking that every thing that happens to me is part of some big plot. I’ve thought that before. That’s boring.

I was going to do things. Now I’ve decided I’m not going to do anything. Fuck doing things. Fuck that. I woke up today that’s enough. I did things earlier. I used to do things. Now I’m going to do no things.

I either have a splinter under my fingernail, or I just stabbed the skin under my fingernail so much with a burnt safety pin that it feels like I do.