Meditation and the game in my head – from a letter to my brother

Image: Watercolour Seascape by KOG.

I’ve noticed this game in my head when I meditate. If a thought intrudes and I get disturbed by it, I am drawn into further thought, even if that’s the very thing I am ‘trying’ to avoid. The harder I try, or the harder I resist, the more I am captured by the thought process. But if I observe it, yet maintain my disinterest and return my attention to my breathing, the distance between me and the thought increases, plus one step to the side. Sometimes I observe it coming and I take that side step into breathing and the thought doesn’t get the chance to take root.

I had a very seductive thought while meditating this morning, which was so seductive I was tempted to stop my meditation to write it down. It took a little effort to go back to my breathing: what if I forgot it and it was gone forever? Such thoughts are like children throwing wobblers trying to make us change our minds when we’ve said ‘no’ to something. If we give in, they win, we lose, and we move one step further into their control. If we have no boundaries, we belong to every whim and fancy we stumble across.

As it happens the thought returned after I’d finished meditating and I am glad it did. The whole process of schooling, as a youth, was to make me mean nothing, to be meaningless in my own eyes, preparing me for a life of drudgery in the factory (EMI). They tried to dress it up, learning a trade, being set for life, a career… as a wage slave, sucked into their system and subservient to it. I didn’t understand depression back then, I didn’t know it was my substance, my something, rebelling, refusing to be nothing. The depression wouldn’t let me go and I lived orbiting a dense black hole sucking me in like death. But it wasn’t death, inside the black hole was the unthinkable, forcing me to pay attention through devastating mental torment and pain. I can look back and see there was a mantra in the blackness, ‘I want to live. I want to live’. I had to abandon the existence I’d been trained for, I had to go to Majorca (working in the kitchens on a Maharishi Mahesh Yogi course), I had to go to PGL (learning to be an instructor on adventure holidays), I had to seek my own path. Because I was and am something, a live, being, formed from stardust, sentient, a real human being. Keith. Depression was the vehicle of my returning. It nearly killed me, but I survived. But that return was only the beginning, where I should have been from birth. It is difficult to express the enormity of the theft visited upon us and our little, vulnerable, praise-less lives and what the universe had to do to wake us up and get us back on track.

I mentioned the other day, my recovery of little Keith from an internal sarcophagus, with a heavy lid, in a room sealed against me by my own fear and terror.

Looking back, it takes a lot of effort to steal our lives. They have to get you to a place where you will ignore the cries of life inside, because life cannot be entirely silenced, no matter what is done to us. But if we are taught to reject it and ignore it, as self indulgence, do what you will is the devil’s creed, the devil finds work for idle hands, big boys don’t cry, emotions are for pussies, we become the keeper of the keys of our prison. Once that happens we need no more of their education and can be released to find a job and get on the treadmill for the rest of our lives, until we are thrown out, in retirement, and our life is over.

Well, for whatever reason, it wasn’t meant to be. I don’t know why some escape and some don’t. It isn’t that we are more worthy or special, because all are worthy, unique and special.

KOG. 26 July 2022.

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