I've been doing a lot of conversing lately. That's cool.
By and large I have a grinch'y attitude toward Christmas – I absolutely hate the Salvation Army guy who plays "Joy to the World" on a loud trumpet in the foyer of a store that I go too frequently.
But I enjoy the social events that blossom this time of year, and the conversations that accompany them. Last night my wife and I hosted our annual Holiday Potluck and White Elephant Gift Exchange.
Aside from being able to get rid of some junk that we wrapped up and foisted onto some guests, I hugely enjoyed talking with old (and new) friends about subjects both profound and inane.
With I chat with Steve, it's often hard to tell the difference between our profundities and our inanities. Our minds work pretty much the same when it comes to spirituality and religion, a decidedly scary proposition for anyone trying to make sense out of what ushers from our mouths.
Even when we're completely clear-minded and sober, like we were last night.
I wish I had a buck for every time we agreed, "What is, is." This is a new (and old) favorite saying for both of us. The plus side of it is how it cuts through so much metaphysical, philosophical, and religious crap. The down side is that we end up sounding like 17 year old skateboarders.
Assuming that's really a down side. More and more, I'm coming to the conclusion that the big question – "What's It All About? – probably is a lot easier to answer than most people, including me, make it out to be.
I liked it when Steve said, "Meditation should be fun." That hit a nerve, because often it isn't for me. I've been meditating every day for almost forty years. It's always something I enjoy, but usually I wouldn't call it fun.
However, it should be. And I want it to be. So that got me thinking about what is fun for me. OK, one activity easily came to mind. But aside from that, what else? And how does it relate to #1?
Boogie boarding popped into my head right away. I've done a lot of it, always in Hawaii (the Pacific ocean off of Oregon is just too damn cold). Like #1, it's an activity that requires you to be both out of control and in control. Which is the source of the fun, as it is for most things.
In boogie boarding, like surfing, the goal is to be carried away by a wave – something a whole lot more powerful than yourself. To do that, you have to be in the right place at the right time. That's where the control comes in.
After that…it's enjoy the ride.
So when Steve said what he did, it struck me that letting go is what I want meditation to be all about. Otherwise it's like boogie boarding without ever catching a wave, or having sex without an orgasm. Not fully satisfying; not really fun.
But meditation isn't different from life. Whatever goes on closed-eyed during my morning meditating should bear a close resemblance to what happens open-eyed the rest of the day. Namely, fun.
Which doesn't mean hilarious ecstatic rolling-in-the-aisles, but a sense of enjoyable lightness. I'm finding that fun is almost always close at hand, but I push it away with various devices – mostly of my own making.
Trying too hard, for example. Adding more to a simple situation than needs to be there. Failing to accept that what is, is, and what isn't, isn't.
This is so simple, it's going to take more explaining. On another day.
For now, I wanted to end with another observation about conversing. Some of this blog's regular commenters have been talking about how the conversations that go on in comments to posts are often more interesting (and fun) that the posts themselves.
I heartily agree. So I've been thinking about how to facilitate these "ad lib" interactions between Church of the Churchless visitors.
I'm leaning toward trying out a new message board approach. This would be an addition to this blog, not a substitute. It'd be a way for people to initiate discussion topics on their own, and have more control over their comments (being able to edit and delete posts, for example).
I'm playing around with a trial version of a Church of the Churchless message board. So far, I'm liking it.
After all, conversing is cool. Whether face to face, or in cyberspace.