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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Willy Wonka and Darth Bane

It was 1971 and I was in first,

or second grade,

and a classmate’s mother

had taken many of us

to see “Willy Wonka

and the Chocolate Factory

for his birthday…

My family did not often

go to movies

so this was very

exciting for me.

Timid, and uncertain,

and polite,

I did what I was told…

and gratefully accepted

what I was offered.

And I was offered

hot buttered popcorn…

and what seemed

like a huge vessel

of Dr. Pepper…

a soda I had heretofore

never tasted.

So there I sat,

in the darkened theater,

with my classmates

and several hundred strangers…

eating my popcorn,

and sipping my Dr. Pepper…

and all the while

enjoying the movie,

which I still remember,

to this day.

Upon first consideration

one could understandably assume

that the movie could distract me…

from my snacking,

and sipping

and thus undermine

my enjoyment of them.

But I experienced the opposite

to be true…

that the movie

enhanced my enjoyment

of the popcorn

and the soda…

and the popcorn,

and the soda in turn

enhanced my enjoyment

of the movie.

And this could be

very much

like our practice

of meditation…

where during our inhalation

we silently, and mentally recite,


and during our exhalation

we silently, and mentally recite,


while relaxing

as best we can.

For just as I was able

to observe the movie

while snacking and sipping…

we too could notice our mind

while this-ing and yes-ing.

We could notice sensations,

and flavors, and scents,

and sounds, and sights…

as well as our emotions,

and intentions, and reasonings,

and recollections, and imaginings.

And we could notice

all those things


and non-conceptually.

And as we physically relax

into each exhalation,

for that is what our bodies

have evolved to do….

all that we noticed

could feel

a little less graspable…

and a little easier

to mentally release.

And just as the snacking

and the sipping

did not undermine…

my enjoyment

of the movie

but rather enhanced it…

likewise our silent and mental


of “This…” and “yes!”

in harmony with our breathing…

does NOT undermine our ability

to watch the play of mind

nor relax into its non-graspable nature

but rather facilitates it.

More than two millennia ago

a Jewish carpenter

is said to have explained…

that man was NOT made

for the Sabbath,

BUT Sabbath for man.

Likewise, I tell you

that we do NOT

sit in meditation…

that we might

more efficiently recite

This…” and “yes!”…

BUT rather

that we silently

and mentally recite

This…” and “yes!”…

that we might more



that our passive

and non-conceptual


of the play of mind…

and our physical, and visceral,

and mental relaxation

into its non-graspable nature….

might be more easy,

and more effective,

and more transformative.

Recall, if you will,

Darth Bane’s

rule of two…

wherein there must be

a master

to have power…

and a student

to crave it.

This is a form

of elitism

and manipulation.

And over the millennia

many so-called

spiritual teachers…

have used cryptic

meditation instructions,

and arcane techniques…

to reinforce

a rule-of-two-like

elitism and coercion.

Some deliberately choose


and coercion…

because they embraced


and power,

and prestige…


because they lacked

the mental acuity

to know better.

BUT I am here to tell you

that something does NOT

have to be difficult

to be effective.

I am telling you

the opposite.

I am telling you

that something

must be easy

and intuitive….

if it is to be sustainable,

no less effective.

But do NOT take

my word for it;

put it to the test.

Play with these techniques

every morning

and every evening…

that you,

like Rey Skywalker

could meditate

like a Jedi.

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action

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These spiritual poems are also available on

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