John Lockwood

Unboxing a Mind

Short Stories

Yesterday while meditating during a walk with my wife, I realized that my short practice was allowing me to enjoy a pleasant distance from the stories that my mind concocts. Of course, this idea was itself such a story, but without some sort of point of view we won’t have much of an article here, will we?

We recorded our walk as we usually do for team KidMiles, which I envisioned would be an awesome social media project where everyone I knew would download this cool phone app and make automatic, free donations to Save The Children. As it turned out, nobody besides my wife and I really liked the idea very much, which is a large part of what led me to experiment with giving up social media.

Trying to get the world to engage in compassionate practice might work well for someone who’s already decently schooled in it and doing it in person – Mother Theresa in India, let’s say, or Martin Luther King in Alabama, or the Dalai Lama wherever he shows up. Having me engaging in it on social media was rather like a blind person trying to teach other blind people to see in a room that was already pitch dark.

I failed, of course. That led me to stop talking and briefly fumble for the light switch, and in the process I re-discovered many beautiful, retro things in my life from various periods. From that point in time before social media ruined the Internet, I recalled that I liked to write online (which itself was a recollection of liking to write offline). Say what you will about blogging, it was only pretty stupid until Facebook and Twitter came along and made something genuinely stupid, by the dim bulbs of which it shines brightly indeed.

Welcome to my discovery.

This resurrected web site had barely launched when I re-discovered my meditation practice and got myself religion – or the closest thing to religion that this atheist will permit himself: Buddhism. If you need to accomplish that, by the way, the trick is to lie to yourself about the idea of re-birth. When I get uncomfortable with that self-deception, I simply recall the facility with which my brain lied to itself about having fun on Twitter.

I’m getting on in years. It’s never to early to order a tombstone that reads: I’d rather be here than on Facebook.