Monday, 22 February 2010


"The nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is..." (Wallace Stevens)

Meditation is a personal thing. It can be formal, ritualistic, as well as collective with others. Mantras apparently assist the process to empty the mind of its confused, convoluted conversations with itself. Personally, I have never learned the techniques of formal meditation, whereby one can apparently go into a type of trance and come out of it ten minutes later feeling like they have just had a two hour nap or a mini-vacation.

What works for me is retreating to a zone of solitude within myself. According to my mother, I have been doing this since I was a child. Perhaps, in the early years, it was an involuntary, semi-autistic state. At one point my parents had my hearing tested because of the frequent occasions when I would not/could not respond to their voices. As an adult it is now primarily a voluntary state that I will myself into; although I am sure there are still times when my "disinterestedness" is autonomic.
"You're not listening to me", my daughter will say, when in fact I feel very interested and focussed on her words. But, clearly, something about the glaze of my eyes, the shift of the gaze suggests otherwise. It is like having multiple tabs open on the brain that are occupying my attention.

"Pay attention", said Linda Loman, in Arthur Miller's play, "Death of a Salesman". Everyone deserves his share of attention. It is all part of the social and human desire for respect, understanding, appreciation, and love. But all too often, I think, we don't pay enough attention to ourselves. We are too busy waiting for, sometimes longing for, the attention of others. That is the true narcissism of our society, this need for others to validate our worth.

So this tendency to retreat within myself is both a blessing and a curse. I sometimes revel in the nothingness, pride myself on my independent ability to live within myself without need for constant external stimulation or the approval of others. I will sometimes announce to my partner that I am having a Greta Garbo day. "I vant to be left alone." But I do need to remind myself that those I love around me, deserve my attention, without distractions. Otherwise when I do need their stimulation and love, there may be a "nothing that is." It is a challenge I continue to embrace.


Dave said...

A wonderfully provocative blog!!!
This zone of solitude that you visit is quite intriguing. Do tell us more about it. Is it comparable to a meditative state where time and space disappear? What are you conscious of while in the zone? Or is it like a dream where a wall decends to hide memories of it from this alternative reality we all occupy? It seems you are able to enter the zone purposely at times and yet, at other times, you fall into it, like Alice falling down her rabbit hole.

Please share more

Anonymous said...

Everyone fastens where there is gain. ....................................................

Starzz said...

What a joy to discover you have written again.
I missed you..and your thought provoking posts...hooray for Dave for egging you on to give us more..or maybe ..over a glass of wine in the have a wonderful private disscusion.


Cathleen said...

Marylou, from time to time I open your blog 'just to see' if you've written more and LO! sweet surprise today--you HAVE! The meditative solitude you speak of is thought inspiring and makes for a juicy inner dialogue as I turn it around in my mind--I too love Dave's questions! Thanks for writing. Stay in the Light.

Marylou said...

Thank you all for your encouraging comments...I feel very honoured that people even want to read my words and thoughts...I will be posting more shortly...but most of my energy right now is directed towards completing CUSHING...more on that later...xoxoxo to all...ML

20th Century Woman said...

I, too, am glad you are writing again.

I share your tendency to become abstracted, off in my own private space, and my children chide me for not paying attention. I still try to find a balance.