Thursday, May 21, 2009

My day started with a bad dream

and has included dogs being difficult, a helpful-if-draining conversation and no lunch as of yet.

I got nothin', kids.

So go check out Monkey Mind's post about a piece Killing the Buddha did about ways to be a bad meditator.

As I've mentioned here many times, I am the worst meditator ever and most of the time I try end up thinking about sex or falling asleep. But I am very aware of the benefits of meditation and keep intending to set up a regular practice schedule.

In other news, a religious person who doesn't know me well said "I will be sending blessings your way...I don't know how you feel about that" to me the morning and I responded "I never turn them down."

This is interesting to me because the response was more or less automatic. Used to, my wealthy grandmother would ask if I needed money. This was at the point in my post-collegiate life where I lived on like $10,000-$20,000 a year. I didn't NEED money in the sense that a child dying of typhoid in Africa did, and pride made me disinclined to say "yes, I need money."

But at the same time, yeah, I probably did need the money.

So when she would ask me that dreaded question, I started saying "I never turn down money." This denied her the emotional satisfaction of being my savior, but her money got her plenty of kowtowing from other people and if my response bothered her, she never let on and she still gave me a couple of hundred bucks.

So probably needed but perhaps not exactly wanted money and unasked-for and not-really-believed-in blessings from a person of goodwill elicit essentially the same response from me.

There's something to sit on a pillow and think about. (See, I suck at meditation.)


Ps. Headed on a trip with Jana-who-Creates this weekend, so updates will either be non-existent or constant. But I really did learn my lesson about posting photo essays.

Pps. That my womb has forever been empty as one of those big cones at the science museum where you can roll a quarter and watch it slowly spin down indicates that this will probably never be an issue for me, but if I do ever have grandchildren, I will just say "Hey, have some money, and if you don't need it, give it to someone who does."


Strange Attractor said...

I often have family members and others tell me they are praying for me for one reason or another. Like you, I don't believe in the prayer's effectiveness, as I don't believe there is a deity listening to them. My usual response is just, "thank you". I does no harm and makes them feel better to pray.

The trickier part is when they encourage me to take whatever problem, "to the Lord". I'm never quite sure how to respond to that one.

Joel Monka said...

I do believe in the power of prayer- but only in the first person, not the third. I can drink from the well and be refreshed, but no matter how deeply I drink, it won't refresh you- you have to drink for yourself.

ogre said...

Why reject anyone's well wishing? I can't imagine why one would. What's uncomfortable is being assumed into the belief structure one doesn't share (as Strange Attractor points to). But to rudely reject someone's wishing one well is just pointless and asinine. Worst case, they have your best interests at heart, but are wasting their time (but feeling good--beneficent--in doing so. Is that an attitude one would really want to discourage in general?).

Money (etc.) is a challenge, particularly for young adults trying to make it on their own. First, it suggests that they might not be. Second, it creates a sort of power relationship (it's human psychology; if you doubt it, read up on gift economy first). I've heard my father talk about his experience on the receiving end, when a young professional with a young family.... I've felt it too.

I think it's a cultural failing. We don't provide an understood scheme by which an elder with money (or not-elder) can offer help that he/she knows is pretty likely needed, really. And we don't provide an acceptable face-saving scheme for accepting. It's done like this:
(hands envelope--with cash, preferably; checks have to be "accepted" again, by signing and depositing--to recipient) "This is for you, I know what it can be like..."
(half-holding envelope) "No, really, that's not necess--"
(pushes envelope) "No really, I want you to take it. It's ok."
(accepting) "Well, ok... since you insist..."

It allows the recipient to "do the favor" of accepting. It takes the "sit up and beg for it" aspect of help out--that's offensive and demeaning.

It also makes it work when the recipient is not clued in enough to the social "rule" or is distracted.

Here, I want you to have this then gets "Uh, ok..." -- and a scramble later to send a thank you that says "You didn't have to..."

And if it's really misplaced or from someone you don't want any sense of indebtedness to...

Just keep refusing. "No, really. I appreciate the thought--it's lovely, but I'm really fine..."

ogre said...


It just hit me that the best response (I've wanted one too!) might be something like;

"Oh, the Lord knows all about it...!"

Said lightly, with a touch of humor and implicit stoicism. You've acknowledged their beliefs. You haven't promised anything (and, after all, within them, the Lord would already know, right? So... no need to take up more time...). You've skated that awkwardness.

(I acknowledge that this won't work for anyone who feels *really* prickly about their need to actively reject someone else's beliefs, but... hey, not my problem!)

PG said...

"As I've mentioned here many times, I am the worst meditator ever and most of the time I try end up thinking about sex or falling asleep."

I'd read it as "mediator" and was kind of shocked by this sentence.

David Throop said...

I read you link as 'I have been a bad mediator.' Made sense – law student, does mediation. So then of course I understood the next paragraph as
As I've mentioned here many times, I am the worst mediator ever and most of the time I try end up thinking about sex or falling asleep. But I am very aware of the benefits of mediation and keep intending to set up a regular practice schedule. and I remembered checking out mediation as an option during my divorce and was wondering if the mediator I met with was thinking about sex or falling asleep.