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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Ernest's Meditation Misgivings

Ernest cracked his knuckles, again, and ran his fingers across his scalp as if untangling his hair could do likewise for his thoughts; but it did not. It always happened this way, an oft repeated chain of events. He would listen to a Beatles song, and then another, and another after that until he came to “Across the Universe:” John Lennon’s ode to meditation (poetic and hypnotic). Although Ernest was never sure which came first: the recording of the song or John’s rejection of his guru.

And then, like a hound after a scent, he found himself wondering aloud, “IF meditation makes us wise and loving THEN it didn’t do much to tame John’s temper or his teacher’s greed. And if it failed to rein in the song writer’s rage, then won’t it fail me as well? All this talk of emptiness and no self is frightening. If I have no free will then how will I keep at bay my violent impulses, no less the terrors that drive them?

I know what it is like to lose control, to partake of a drug they told me would be fun, they told me would expand my mind, only to release my own personal Mister Hyde!”

His little sister Susan, now all grown up, rested a slender hand upon his shoulder to comfort him and said, “Not all meditations are created equal, Ernie, nor are all instructions. Just as the mellow high of Marijuana cannot induce violence, the physical relaxation and mental release latent within every contemplative exhalation could act like a subway driver’s ‘dead man’s switch;’ and likewise prevent disaster.”

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