Journaling June: I Suck at Cave Time

“What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

I love the empowerment that Nietzsche’s writing exudes, particularly the idea of going down. He means it in several ways, but for me it’s the idea of going into oneself, down deep to face the dragons therein, where I find the greatest interest.

For several months now I have actively been trying to get 15 minutes of quiet time everyday. Time without distractions from my phone, tablet, TV, notebooks, other people, or anything. Time to contemplate . . . whatever. My wife calls it cave time. Considering I’m a guy, why I’m doing it, and my philosophical background, cave time is perfect.

I wish, like Nietzsche, I could write something powerful and inspiring, or mearly thought provoking. Sadly, all I can report is that I suck at cave time.

I’m too used to the noise. My world is layers of white noise: the sound of fans, background music or Netflix, and finally whatever I’m “focusing” on. Only when the world shouting at me from all directions can I breathe a sigh of relief.

This is an example of what happens as soon as I take off my glasses to have my 15 minutes of cave time:

Hang on a second. The world’s not fuzzy. This isn’t right.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

I can’t think with the world all blurry like this.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

I rub my eyes. I squint. Still not right.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

The big stuff’s fine. It’s the details.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

It wasn’t like this when I was growing up.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

This is unbearable. I have to make it right.

(fix it! fix it! fix it!)

I can’t sit in that slightly uncomfortable state, not for even a few minutes without squirming uncontrollably. I put my glasses back on. Everything goes back to normal. A sigh relief drags out into dejection. I reach for the closest distraction.

It’s the same way with meditation. I’ve heard this mental maddness described as monkey mind. Mine happens to be the overly excited kind that’s either masturbating or flinging poo. Either way, it’s a mess.

Which makes me wonder, how in the world did anyone—philosophers, prophets, etc.—get any insights in the middle of this chaos? The best I get is a barely amusing anecdote.

(they were at it for more than a few months.)

And their brains weren’t addled by incessant media barrage, or pollution, or good old fashioned stupidity.

(eh . . . that’s debatable—except for the media barrage. besides, two of those are the same thing.)

Sigh. This means more work, doesn’t it? Work in the magnitude of herding 20 three-year-olds through a candy store that’s staffed with puppies and kittens. Feck! He I was thinking taking a moment of silence to look into myself was going to give me a break.

(yeah, well, life sure is font of it’s contradictions, innit?)

Indeed.

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