Attunement: From 靖 to 齊
My own pep talk before a 10 day silent meditation retreat.
I am anxious. I am worried if I would sleep well, if I would lose my muscle mass, if I would lose my shit, if I would quit early. I want to achieve too much: something closer to enlightenment, a better meditator, a different person. I started reading too much about it. The stuff online is way too sensational: “10 must brutal days of my life, like, ever!” “Why I quit?” “Toughest mental challenge I have ever subjected myself to.”
I need to be clear of why I am subjecting myself to a 10 day silent meditation retreat.
Meditation has helped me tremendously. I have learned a lot about the various kinds of contemplative practices. I struggled with them, similar to how I struggled to go to the gym and to eat well consistently. It has been both guilt-tripping and refreshing. I wanted to learn more about my own mind, and ways to understand and experience it- the key word here is to experience.
All the various concepts of meditation, or even Buddhism, are logically understandable. However, I have come to realize that it is insufficient to only understand my mind academically and not experimentally. I am bad at noticing, recognizing, remembering and relating with experiences in general. Therefore I want to give myself an opportunity to open that door and see what it is all about.
I also think the timing of this opportunity to attend a retreat is good: I am in the middle of a mid life crisis, I just bought my new Porsche convertible, and I have just pulled an “American Beauty” on my career,
“Lose it? I didn’t lose it. It’s not like, “Whoops! Where’d my job go?” I QUIT. Someone pass me the asparagus.”
And … we are in the midst of yet another tragically hopeless struggle for justice here in Hong Kong. The stars are aligned. Right now, this moment, can’t be a more cliché time for anyone to go onto an exploration of the self (AKA run away and become a hermit.)
Furthermore, I am lucky to have found a spouse that would let me go MIA for 10 days for some woo woo psychedelic road trip, while she has to hold the fort with two young kids at home. Every time that “oh god not again?” look arose on her otherwise stoic face, it reminded me to be forever grateful of her grace and patience.
Finally, this little trip to the mental prison fits perfectly with the names of our kids. We named our kids (after a few bottles of Chinese white wine) 靖 (Jing) and 齊 (Chai). Jing means “to bring serenity”, “to calm”; Chai was taken from an old Chinese saying, which meant “to complete”, “to bring the family together”. I know this sounds contrived, but it is going to help me stay somewhat centered when my mind goes bat shit crazy during solitary confinement.
I hope this trip will reveal ways to help me attune to my deepest whispers more reliably, in order to bring serenity to everyone around me more frequently.
Image source: https://www.teeturtle.com/products/batshit-crazy?variant=8815135752246