Saturday, November 2, 2019

Morning Meditation Without Orgasm

The view from the balcony
It's 9 am on Shabbat Morning. I got up at 8.30. I'm rested. All is quiet. DD's still asleep. We're not going anywhere today. It's Shabbat so there are no buses and everything is closed in Jerusalem. (We can take taxis, Yes Planet Cinema is open as well as a few restaurants, but I'm trying to create an atmosphere here.)

I made coffee and went to sit outside on the balcony. I read recently that people who meditate can rejuvenate parts of their brain to the brain function of a 25 year old. I can't remember where I read it now.

I assume it meant the brain function of yourself at 25 and not any random 25 year old, or the average intelligence of all the 25 years olds on the planet. That wouldn't be fair because I had to go through years of homework and writing essays to get my particular 25 year old brain.

Anyway, as I said, I tried to meditate but after ten seconds my eyes kept popping open. They say you have to practice and build up to about 40 minutes a day. 40 minutes a day! I wonder if you can play Home Design on your phone whilst meditating. If you think about it, the two activities are compatible. Meditating requires clearing your mind and playing Home Design is pretty mindless.

I had an experience with meditating when I was very young and years later I read something that shattered all my illusions about it. I was at Limmud (a Jewish learning and social experience for adults held in the English countryside, over the Christmas and New Year holidays.) One morning I attended a session of guided meditation.

We were guided by a young American rabbi who suggested we meditate on the first line of the Shema. This is the prayer that we're supposed to say every morning and evening and if we think we're about to die. It starts (although I was saying thinking it in Hebrew): Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Every time I got to the the word 'Elohaynu' (our God) I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. It was like being hugged. I kept saying that word over an over and letting the feeling wash over me. In the room I heard the rabbi telling us to gently finish and open our eyes. I didn't want to stop. But obviously I did, after a couple more 'Elohaynus'.

I opened my eyes and the rabbi was smiling at me. "You had an experience, " he said. I nodded. I was beaming and every time I thought about it during the day as I went to lectures and meals, I had to wipe the smile off my face or look like an idiot. I also wondered if I'd had an actual encounter with God or if you could get the same feeling meditating with "OM".

That had been the last day of guided meditation. I tried doing it myself but I didn't get the same effect. For years, I'd try meditating every so often but I never ever even got close to the experience I'd had that first time. I remember the name of that rabbi and I occasionally thought of contacting him for advice. But I didn't and eventually I gave up meditation.

Fast forward about 30 years and I saw an article about the connection between meditation and orgasms. Turns out, many women experience a kind of orgasm the first time, and only the first time, they meditate. Well that explains everything. So moving OM, I'm not expecting the orgasm. I'm just going for my 25 year old brain. I'll try again next week.