This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!
RECAP: Yesterday you learned that the path of unicorns involves meditation. There are two aspects to this path, which I have named Unikonics and Unicorniks. Unikonics was covered in Chapters 2 through 5, and is the theory behind the path. Unicorniks is the practice of actually catching unicorns (unique experiences), and has been mainly covered in these final two chapters. The most effective way to catch unicorns is through meditation, which leads you on a path that goes straight to their source. Which is the mind.
On the Path of Unicorns, Part 2
The way to go straight to the mind is through something called “mindfulness.” You’ve probably already heard of this, as it’s become quite popular in our New Age world. Everyone seems to have hopped on the bandwagon, when it comes to mindfulness.
They parrot hackneyed slogans that we’ve become boringly familiar with, such as: “Wake up! Pay attention! Find yourself! Look within! Live in the moment! Be mindful! Be present! Just be!”
And yet, the world remains as nutty as ever. You’d think with all the mindfulness going on, everyone would have conquered their crazy minds by now, and we’d all be living in a utopia. But so far, mindfulness has not cured the world of very many ills.
The problem is that the practice of mindfulness is much easier said than done. Mindfulness is fucking hard! And most people, including me, are fucking lazy. So few people stick with mindfulness long enough to enjoy most of its benefits.
But it works, for those who do stick with it. Lazy as I am, I have persisted and persisted with the practice of mindfulness, for decades, and have reaped its harvests over and over again.
It hasn’t transfigured me into a virtuous citizen, nor a saint, nor a perfectly enlightened Buddha. No, mindfulness doesn’t do that. That’s the job of purity. Those who want to be virtuous should forget about mindfulness and practice purity, instead.
Purity is practiced by putting on a fake smile, and claiming to be mindful all the time. Then you do good works in full view of everyone, and always have a smarmy comment on hand for anyone who doubts your pure intentions.
Purity is for winning social status within your workplace, community, church, temple, or wherever the hell you’re trying to be elevated to sainthood.
Those who are truly mindful tend to keep quiet about it. This is because as difficult as it is to practice, it’s ten times more difficult to describe. Just what the hell is mindfulness? For those who’ve experienced it over protracted periods of time, it’s something mystical and magical that defies explanation.
All things come from the mind. So when you direct your mind onto the mind, you’re pointing it at the raw material of the universe. This material can only be sensed. It cannot be properly described with words. Words can never come close.
Perhaps I’m slow-witted, but it seems from my experience, that you become aware of this raw material slowly. It dawns upon you gradually, over time, and never right away, all at once. And maybe this is why the world hasn’t been helped much by mindfulness. I think most people don’t stick with it long enough to develop such awareness.
It’s a profound awareness. It’s so profound, that once it occurs to you, you’re hooked. It’s too late. You can never be unmindful again. Now you are chained like a slave to the arduous task of inward-looking, self-awareness.
It’s worse than being a heroin addict. You can quit heroin, with some effort, but you can never quit mindfulness, once you reach the point of no return. But unlike heroin, you’re not hooked right from the start. No, the addiction develops gradually, until finally it has gained so much steam, trying to stop it would be like trying to push back a runaway Union Pacific freight train.
You might wonder how long it takes to become so addicted. I don’t know. Perhaps it differs from person to person. For me, I’d say it was at least one year, and perhaps as many as five or ten. I can’t pinpoint the exact date the addiction took me over.
If you practice mindfulness long term, I believe you’ll become addicted, just like me. I just can’t guarantee the time frame. But one day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re stuck with this habit. And your life will never be the same. Sometime between the time you begin the practice, and the time you realize you’re hooked to it, your life will transform permanently.
So just what is mindfulness? As I’ve averred to before, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I can’t describe it. It goes well beyond words. Words don’t do it justice.
But I can describe the practice. I can tell you what to do, to be mindful and catch lots of unicorns, and then it will be up to you to try it, and keep doing it. And if you keep doing it, you will learn, in due time, just exactly what mindfulness really is.
[Tomorrow I’ll introduce the practice of mindfulness to you. And then if you’re of a mind, you can mindfully practice mindfulness.]