Tag Archives: mindfulness

Humans in Heat

I was standing outside the wine bar feeling indignant. Ola would show up any moment and my thought to bring the dog made the place inhospitable to us.

She arrived. We hugged. I told her the situation and suggested another bar. She good-naturedly agreed. We walked at a brisk, bouncy pace both of us, and at length, when we arrived at bar 2 to find it closed, we circled back to my hostel, dropped the dog off and returned to the wine bar where we got a nice table right away, right against a wall looking out onto Real de Guadelupe’s foot traffic.

We sat close and she strongly pulled me closer at times.
She was playful and good-natured. My willingness (enthusiasm) to have sex with her was established early on. She was seeing someone and didn’t want to make it complicated.
I didn’t pout. I talked with her. At one point she got quiet and looked straight ahead paying attention, because I didn’t know what to do. She started pulling me closer affectionately and saying in a sing-songy voice, “We are friends! Can you be my friend? Ja! We are friends.” She held me around the neck and hugged me as she sang. I was under her spell.
We looked at each other’s hands. We held our hands close to each other’s.
She lamented how her hands looked aged and weathered.
We got closer. Held hands. Played with each other’s hair (*my bald head*).

The walk home was surreal. I walked her home. We were pushing each other, dancing twirling each other, holding hands, linking arms. I picked her up like a fireman when she started hitting me. She said ‘put me down’. I put her down. We continued frolicking up the street listening to ‘silly dance songs’.

Her head was wrapped in a reddish silk scarf with a floral pattern. She looked so sexy and cool. And she was playing with me! The street was our playground and she was prodding at me and my reservedness—like the little girl does to the little boy in Up.

I felt young and beautiful. Our inner children enjoyed each other. Her centre of gravity would shift into within mine and force me to catch myself or get thrown off-balance. I kept my hands moving when putting them on her. Our hips moved together in a dance that was whatever it was.

We got into her neighbourhood. I walked her down the long stretch of street before stopping short of her street. She reiterated that she had someone and then began the movements of goodnight. The gentle swaying in and out, daring the other with locked eyes. Her pupils were dilated and it wasn’t from drugs. I let my desire show, but only through my eyes and gentle rhythmic incursions of my inner toroidal field into her inner toroidal field. There was nuzzling, hugging and cheek kissing, and then, just before stepping apart, our lips touched for the briefest instant.

We stepped back from each other, and she turned, looking back once as she rounded the corner. I felt mind-fucked. It had been the most wonderful walk home. The brownie I had eaten fuelled some of the surreality to be sure, but nonetheless, we were two kids frolicking in a playground.

I never had a friendship with a girl like this.

*********************************************

This experience redeemed so many years of awkwardness around women I like. It was a challenge and an adventure; she was strong and challenged me physically. Her challenge was contending with my greater mass and roughness of movement; my challenge was staying radically present with her in the moment, staying ‘locked-in’ and not drifting off and imagining our lives together, or how she compared to other women I’d known.

In closing

We’ve been dancing around a get-together for a month, and this evening together almost didn’t happen because she was tired. I told her it was my last night, and her response was ah ok fuck it.

I liked that.

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Being Mindful of Transgressions

Friends,

The video counterpart for this post can be found here.

A few years back I attended a Vipassana meditation retreat in Cooksville, Ontario. It was a ten-day retreat based on the teachings of S.N. Goenka, and in addition to the long hours of meditation there were also a series of observances each attendee was required to accept. The complete list escapes me, but the most important ones were: no talking, no electronics, no eating of meat, no killing another living creature, no meals after midday and NO STEALING. Quite unexpectedly, this last observance was problematic for me and breaking this guideline led to perhaps my greatest lesson about mindfulness,

It was late February and snowy during the retreat and when entering the meditation hall we would ditch our jackets and boots in the foyer area which would, not surprisingly, get wet and dirty. At one point I was the last one into the hall and since the outer door was ajar and my own boots were a pain to slip on and off, I slipped into someone else’s boots to close the door. Instantly, and very unexpectedly I was overcome with a feeling of guilt; I had just stolen.

Was it temporary theft? Yes, only three to five seconds.

Did it cause any deprivation? No, the owner of the shoes was already in the hall starting his practice.

Was it for a good purpose? Yes, I was closing the door to keep us all warm.

But I knew all of that didn’t matter from a morality perspective.

Now, at this point I want to reiterate that I don’t really buy into morality myself, but I still was troubled because the person who owned the boots likely did. And this transgression, paltry and trifling though it may have been, was still an act of theft.

I brought this up to one of the meditation leaders, Bob at the next day’s optional counseling session. He was shocked when I mentioned I had stolen but as he heard me out he asked if, out in the real world I would have thought twice about slipping on those shoes. I told him “probably not.” According to him, it was a good thing to have happened because it showed that I was starting to think in more mindful terms, looking at the implications of my actions and considering the damage they could do in their ultimate expressions (i.e. larger theft, mugging or the taking of life-giving essentials). For me, it was an important beginning of looking at the things I was doing in my life and extrapolating them out to their logical conclusions and ultimate ends.

I think that very often we glaze over the fact that we let our ends justify our means because the negative means we employ on a day-to-day basis very often seem so trifling and paltry. For example, we would all likely have at least some compunction about taking a life, even if it was for the positive end of saving many. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s called empathy and it’s a good thing. However, our empathy is rarely sensitive or trained enough to consider that even something comparatively benign, say the act of marking up a price so that you can feed your own family, even that is a negative means for an ostensibly positive end. It is causing deprivation to one group to alleviate the deprivation of another. Survival at the expense of others cheapens the lives of all.

I don’t mean to come down on anyone here who has to eke out their survival at the expense of others. If that was my intent, I would be coming down on everyone including myself; such is the nature of our competitive socio-economic system: we are all complicit in instituting deprivation against each other. Nor do I mean to give a scathing indictment of our current scarcity-based socio-economic system; I have done that ad nauseum and I will certainly do so again at certain points in the future. Rather, I simply mean to shed light on the fact that we should be mindful of our actions, no matter how trifling or benign they seem and be aware that if those actions were amplified by orders of magnitude, they just might be more violent and deprivation-causing than we realize.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
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Demo Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gdwhemiqzc

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