No — Twenty Minutes are Not Enough. Nor are Ten Days …
I just got back from a visit to India and a highlight was the three days I spent at the Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai.
I felt the presence of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi everywhere. And I also felt viscerally what I am about to share with you.
I love war movies and my favorites are the oldies — The Guns of Navarone, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare, The Devil’s Brigade, The Dirty Dozen and the like.
The pace of the action in more recent war movies — Saving Private Ryan, Fury and the like — is faster and I find it jarring. I don’t care for the super hero movies of today because they are just too bewilderingly fast. Too many cutouts and cutbacks, too much happening in too short a time.
Go back and watch the classics of yesteryear such as Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy. The cadence is slow, like the changing of seasons. It takes a while to get into the rhythm of the movie. If you don’t become comfortable with the slow pace, you will not be able to appreciate the movie.
But our lives are evolving so everything is faster and still faster. I can remember the days of the telephone modem and ten minutes to send an email was perfectly acceptable. Now I get impatient if a site takes five seconds to load.
Next day delivery is taken for granted and I bestow my custom on companies that promise delivery in two hours.
The mental chatter of our monkey mind has kept up with the times. It is so full of troubled energy that the flywheel of our mind is spinning faster and faster. Social media is an accelerant par excellence.
What this means is that ‘meditating’ for twenty minutes a day will have little effect on your well-being. It will barely begin to put the brakes on your runaway locomotive mind.
A multi-day retreat — such as a Vipassana course — is better, but not by much. It takes no time at all for your mind to resume its frenetic oscillation.
There is only one way to begin to cope with this demented creature that is bouncing you on a sinusoidal curve between elation and despair.
I will tell you about it next week.