I like to cook. Though I say that with an exception – I don’t care much for the “art” of cooking. I can, however, appreciate its expression through a true master of the craft. And though I don’t much care for “fine dining”, I have had several culinary experiences that had blown my mind. But I have no delusions that I am of that caliber and I simply do not have the desire to achieve such a level of mastery. Frankly, my “style” is more along the lines simple, easy and tastes good. If I can prepare something that I truly enjoy, I’m fine living on the bottom rung of the culinary world.
So with this “cooking” series, I am going to share recipes that I’ve found and honed to fit the criteria of easy to make, easy to clean up and that I enjoy.
I have recently finished reading Sam Harris’ Waking Up – A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. I didn’t come into this book without knowing Harris’ leanings toward mindfulness meditation and the idea that there can be a separation between faith and spirituality. I’ve been a regular listener of his Waking Up Podcast where he does speak about these ideas from time to time. But it was a curiosity about meditation that motivated me to pick up his book. However, through the course of the text, my thoughts kept gravitating toward the feeling that Harris was simply laying out an argument for an offshoot brand of secular Buddhism. Though I finished reading the book, I set it down thinking that his arguments just didn’t appeal to me.
To be fair, the bulk of my knowledge about meditation consisted solely of the idea that it was something practiced by Buddhist monks, grifting Hindu yogis or crystal clutching hippies trying to tap their awareness into some “universal consciousness”. So it seemed odd to me that Harris, someone I viewed as being incredibly rational and reasonable, would devote an entire book in the defense of its practice.
Perhaps it is this cognitive disconnect that has driven me to consider that there just may be something of value in mindfulness meditation. I don’t mean to come across as some kind of Sam Harris fanboy and that simply because he speaks it, it must be true. Admittedly, I do place considerable value in Harris’ insights simply based on what I do know about his work. But I would like to think I am reasonable and rational enough to smell bullshit regardless of whose mouth it comes from. Perhaps it would be better to state it this way – I’ll take Harris’ word for it…for now.
At this point, I am willing to believe that there may be more to the practice than I can see. And it is entirely possible that whatever benefit and/or knowledge one can attain from the practice can’t be imparted by simply listening to the experiences of others in the hope to garner some value to be applied to my own life. So I intend to begin practicing and studying about the practice.
Which leads me to the point of all this. I am using this meditation series to document my dabbling in the practice. If you get some value from reading along, fine. If not, that’s fine too. I don’t expect much; nor should you.