Entering altered states of mind. A state of clarity. This is certainly one area that Buddhism has helped my life. How to focus the mind. When you discover just how focused you can be, you realize how noisy your head has always been. I blame the excessive amounts of TV and commercials (gotta blame something, no?) But seriously, our minds are too busy. There’s too many distractions and not enough time to give our minds rest. Even sleep isn’t restful anymore. We go to sleep thinking about our day, or worrying about the day to follow. I can’t tell you how refreshing my rests are now, ever since my late night snacks became a salad, my drinks became water and my mind rested with me focused on my breath.
I highly recommend How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan for a no B.S. summary of the practice. Thanks to Bob F. for that recommendation. Of course, the only real way to truly understand it, is to try it. One 10 minute sitting won’t cut it. If you’re looking for the Buddhist usage of meditation, then Turning the Mind Into an Ally is the book to run to. Both books are under 150 pages, but the second book is a much easier read.
Also, I mustn’t forget techno. 14 years old, laying in bed, with headphones on, entering the world of the grid. A world that would later have its doors thrown open even wider with the use of… other tools. Music prepared me. There’s something about that tribal rhythm that really balances out the mind.
The lead character artist at work told me that he doesn’t watch TV. I asked him how he spends hit time at home. He said he meditates 2-3 hours per night. Wow! Sitting in total silence, just focused on your mind. Most would consider this a waste of time, but if you met this guy, you would think otherwise. He’s always calm and collected.
At the very least, I would like to meditate about 30 minutes per night, and this would not include time the time needed for the sketchbook.