Where I am, in the European country in the north, we have a lockdown for months, and as a result, we are all forced to meditate. Shops are closed, which can be a good thing, but all other nice facilities, such as restaurants, cafes, and theatres, are closed as well, and in masses, we reached the point where there is literally nothing to do.
I call this state a forced meditation. I have thought and rethought about my life in the past couple of months to a grandiose scale. I told myself, in due fashion, that relatively speaking, I am doing fine. I repeated it like a mantra, watching the closed terraces and desolate streets, because without some positive thinking, one is doomed.
For some of us, this forced state of lockdown can be a good thing. I hate shopping, and always thought that it could be a good cause for celebration when shops are closed. I hate the crowds, and I thought that it would be nice to enjoy the city where I live in its beautiful quietness and tranquillity. And yes, I do enjoy the city, the Frisian capital in the north, but certain good things in their absence acquire a nagging ‘come back to me appeal’. There is nothing else more than I want at this moment but to go to a nice cloth shop and stroll, walk in the beauty store and stare at creams, try perfumes in Douglas, or a body oil in the Rituals. I will no longer say I hate shopping, because I hate meditating even more.
I can’t meditate and this is something I learned already long time ago when meditation was presented to us as a spiritual gift worthy of acquiring. I assumed due postures and tried to get rid of my thoughts. They still continued rushing through my head though, reminding me of some better things to do, such as simply having a nice cup of coffee, talk with a friend, or go on a nice walk in nature, in order to, well, meditate. The thoughts were like dark huge clouds around my head, and I realised that I could almost see them at some points, and reach for them with my hand, to never let go. I like thinking, I like thoughts. I like constantly dreaming and thinking, what is there to meditate about, I would ask myself?
And yet, it is the state in which we found ourselves due to lockdown and the crisis around the Covid. As a world population, we are forced to meditate and reflect more, because there is less of distraction. The online world is slowly losing its appeal as well, and we are driven to start appreciating what is around. But what is around, or used to be, is precisely what makes our lives so beautiful. A nice cup of coffee on a sunny terrace in a café, a meal in a restaurant, live music in a bar, a great ballet or opera in a theatre. Or a trip to buy that nice dress in a shop.
All these little things, that’s what makes meditation pleasurable on occasions, but when it is forced on us, it looses its appeal. Meditation can be good only in small doses, as well as closed shops, cafes and theatres.
When will it end?