How to avoid imminent death while meditating
By user_dd

I was about to die…

I could see it coming. First my eyes would glaze over from the pain, and then my body would keel over from exhaustion, and then everything would go black. It was going to happen, in like two seconds, I know it. Just wait…

Well, I kept on waiting, staring at the blank wall of the ‘international’ student dorm room I had come to know all too well over the past 10 days. It looked much nicer from the outside than those constructed for the ‘locals’ visiting the temple, but I wasn’t sure what the difference was—probably just that we had private showers.

Every morning at 4:45am I woke to the silent dawn of Chiang Mai, meditated for a few hours, then caught a quick shower and breakfast. It was always the same grub—rice porridge with your choice of red pepper flakes or sugar. As soon as breakfast was over, I’d scurry on back to my room to continue my meditation practice for the rest of the day.

It’s actually quite surprising how hard it is to get 12 hours of meditation in during a 24-hr period (note how I didn’t say ‘day’ there), but that was the suggestion by the Temple’s abbot. And of course, I took it, because meditation should be HARD, right? I should be challenging and confronting and painful. The Theravada Buddhists have a reputation for the intensity of their practice, but I think it’s just because they tend to attract people with my kind of misconceptions around meditation. Or the human mind just goes there on it’s own. I’ll go with all of the above, final answer.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned

in my meditation practice over the years, it’s that the mind goes lots of places: emotions, attachments, desires; sleep, attentive, drowsy; crazy, dark, joyful… literally everything you can think of (ba-dum-ching!).

If there’s another thing I’ve learned…

In my meditation practice over the years, I’ve learned that “where your mind goes” doesn’t matter. Let your mind go where it will. Or go ahead and try and reel it in. While you’re trying to perfect the imperfection, as long as your body goes on sitting on that cushion with the intention of meditation, you’re doing meditation. So consider it all a success, no matter how it feels, or what you think about it, JUST DO IT!

And when you still need support because you saw unicorn horns get cut off by flying saucers and now you’re scared of where your mind will go next—go to Multi-Modal Meditation and I’ll show you a few ways to stave off the crazy and stay grounded in your practice.

But I can’t promise those hornless unicorns won’t come back to haunt you…