I am restless. It is Monday evening, and I started this week at a frantic pace. I didn’t want to work on Sunday evening, I woke up early today instead. I arrived at the office at 9 am which is very unusual. I had planned, done, and arranged a lot already before the usual 10 am project management meeting. I stayed very active and motivated in the afternoon too. After work, I rushed through the city to the service with my car. As I arrived home, I didn’t feel like working more, so I started to read instead. I am reading five books at the same time, like a maniac. Then I decided to work a little, arranged some stuff for tomorrow, and kept on reading. It was already past 7 pm when I started feeling restless and uneasy again. I wanted to do everything, everything at the same time.
Reading, taking a shower, eating, working, meeting girls. I can’t sit still. I want to get over with my girlfriend. And I also want to be with her. I want to meet the girl I met on the plane last week on my way to visit my girlfriend. But I don’t want to take her too seriously because I am already afraid of her clinging to me. I want to meet new girls too. I want to try new things. Fuck! I want everything at the same time, and right away! I don’t know what to do. Should I sit down to meditate and wait for this to go away? I don’t know!
Oh, this is a very familiar and old dilemma of mine about meditation. Passion, enthusiasm, feeling young, energetic, motivated, restless, and unstoppable, feeling the energy to move, to go, to do, to fight, to change the world, to experience the unexperienced, to see, to try. And on the other side calmness, equanimity, acceptance, and peace, that meditation is all about. How do these two things come together? How can I resolve this opposition, this paradox? I don’t know, I don’t understand…
This happens time and again that I find some contradictions in the philosophy of meditation and mindfulness, and I can’t find the keys to resolving them, although I know there must be a resolution because lots of very smart and wise people spent their lives thinking about and working on these ideas. But I am also trying to cultivate a healthy skepticism, so I try to understand and solve these paradoxes myself, which can be a valuable learning for me.
My other favorite contradiction is long term changes versus short term changes. I don’t really believe miracles, like getting rich quickly. That’s not who I am. I believe in hard work and persistence, that can guarantee success on the long run. This aligns with Kabat-Zinn’s principles, saying that change can only be achieved through patient and regular meditation practice. On the other hand, he also says that if we want to do meditation because we want to be calmer, more attentive, more loving, happier, then we also say we are not yet good enough, and something is wrong with us. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I am fucking confused. Should I have long term goals and dreams (of which I have a lot), or should I just stay in the present moment and accept what already is. Well, I don’t want to accept everything that is. I want to grow and change certain things. Is this bad? Is this the wrong attitude. I can’t always see the difference between acceptance and ignorance. Acceptance means giving up to me sometimes. I don’t understand. Accepting the bad doesn’t make it any better, does it?