How to meditate

This entry is part 38 of 39 in the series Manual

1. Watch a flower bud swell and open over the course of a week. The moment it’s fully open, clip it for an ikebana arrangement. It should feel as if you were severing your own limb.

2. Radio waves are passing through you at every moment. If you’re very still, you might be able to tune them in. (Concentrate on FM. AM stations are too shouty.)

3. Find a natural setting and meditate on a fresh pile of excrement, preferably your own. Watch as it slowly sinks and disappears into the ground, the work of stealthy beetles operating from below, for whom it is everything they ever wanted.

4. Climb a tree as meditatively as possible. Note: this is not a good time to practice non-attachment.

5. If you are a man, try to maintain an erection while keeping your mind completely blank. When you find yourself unable to do so, prostrate yourself 108 times before the nearest woman. She might sleep with you just for that! But probably not, you dysfunctional loser.

6. If you are a pregnant woman past the first trimester, listen to your baby’s heartbeat through a fetoscope for up to a four hours at a time. Stop if you feel your own heart starting to beat 160 times a minute. This could cause it to explode.

7. Counting meditation is popular with beginners, but what really comes after 1? Put that in your censer and smoke it.

8. In Tibet, some monks can elevate their body temperature to survive freezing mountaintops with little clothing. You can do them one better. Concentrate on elevating your electromagnetic field so that you could, if necessary, survive in interplanetary space with no other shield against the solar wind.

9. Cultivate an intimate relationship with your least favorite word. Make it the first thing to pass your lips upon waking and the last echo in your mind before sleep. Say it until you grow hoarse and your tongue turns numb. Then forget the word.

10. Take all your clothes off and meditate on a street corner. If you are in New Delhi, this may attract followers, and will almost certainly bring enough donations to keep you alive. If you are in New York City, it may or may not get you arrested. There’s no particular point to this exercise; it’s just amusing for the rest of us.

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9 Comments


    1. Well, if you decide to give it a try, be sure to let us know how it works out. With user feedback, this can become a valuable resource for serious meditators.

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      1. Maybe I’ll try it tomorrow. The word is “moist,” by the way. Forgetting the word will be the hardest part.

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  1. I like number 3, having been fascinated by the gradual removal, over a period of days, of fox shit on the concrete outside my front door by slugs at night. Sadly I have no natural setting in which to deposit my own.

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  2. Also, while trying to determine the preferences of the dung beetle for the dietary preferences of the excretor (they will eat the offerings of omnivores but prefer those of herbivores so go easy on the meat before practicing this exercise) I discovered that an African dung beetle navigates by the polarisation of moonlight. Maybe I’ll develop that as an interim superpower on the way to #8’s cosmic protection shield.

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    1. That is awesome. Thanks!

      I think you have more red foxes there in London than we do here. Ever since the coyotes moved in, they’ve been kind of scarce.

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  3. I’m going to recommend this as required reading for anyone who asks me anything about meditation. Practical labs will also be required for anyone with a particularly starry-eyed look on their face as they ask me if I’ve ever “attained” anything.

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