Ruth Ozeki over meditatie…

De Amerikaans-Canadese Ruth Ozeki is één van mijn favoriete auteurs. Ze publiceerde reeds een 4-tal romans waaronder A Tale for the Time Being (2013) en The Book of Form and Emptiness (2021). Ze behandelt in haar boeken heel wat thema’s zoals sociale problemen, mentale gezondheid, verlies, milieu en klimaat, religie,,…

Ozeki is sinds 2010 ook een zenboeddhistische priester. Het is dan ook niet te verwonderen dat meditatie regelmatig een plaats krijgt in haar romans. Een fragment uit A Tale for the Time Being (2013):

“First of all, you have to sit down, which you’re probably already doing. The traditional way is to sit on a zafu cushion on the floor with your legs crossed, but you can sit on a chair if you want to. The important thing is just to have good posture and not to slouch or lean on anything. Now you can put your hands in your lap and kind of stack them up, so that the back of your left hand is on the palm of your right hand, and your thumb tips come around and meet on top, making a little round circle. The place where your thumbs touch should line up with your bellybutton. Jiko says this way of holding your hands is called hokkai jo-in and it symbolizes the whole cosmic universe, which you are holding on your lap like a great big beautiful egg.

Next you just relax and hold really still and concentrate on your breathing. You don’t have to make a big deal about it. It’s not like you’re thinking about breathing, but you’re not not thinking about it either. It’s kind of like when you’re sitting on the beach and watching the waves lapping up on the sand or some little kids you don’t know, playing in the distance. You’re just noticing everything that’s going on, both inside you and outside you, including your breathing and the kids and the waves and the sand.

And that’s basically it. It sounds pretty simple, but when I first tried to do it, I got totally distracted by all my crazy thoughts and obsessions, and then my body started to itch and it felt like there were millipedes crawling all over me. When I explained this to Jiko, she told me to count my breaths like this: Breathe in, breathe out . . . one. Breathe in, breathe out . . . two. She said I should count like that up to ten, and when I got to ten, I could start over again at one. She says it’s totally natural for a person’s mind to think because that’s what minds are supposed to do, so when your mind wanders and gets tangled up in crazy thoughts, you don’t have to freak out. It’s no big deal. You just notice it’s happened and drop it, like whatever, and start again from the beginning One, two, three, etc. That’s all you have to do.

It doesn’t seem like such a great thing, but Jiko is sure that if you do it every day, your mind will wake up and you will develop your SUPAPAWA—! I’ve been pretty diligent so far, and once you get the hang of it, it’s not so hard. What I like is that when you return your mind to meditation, it feels like coming home. Maybe this isn’t a big deal for you, because you’ve always had a home, but for me, who never had a home except for Sunnyvale, which I lost, it’s a very big deal. Meditation is better than a home. Meditation is a home that you can’t ever lose.

Meditation probably wouldn’t cure me of all my syndromes and tendencies but it would teach me how not to be so obsessed with them.”

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Gepubliceerd door Piet Vervaecke

Directeur Onderwijscentrum Brussel

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