where the writers are

I'm a finger food guy. I like sandwiches, fruit and nuts, things I can pick up and shove into my mouth without eliciting stares because I'm expected to use my hands. 

In a way, I think that my choice of finger food is a reflection that I like simple things. Not quite true; I enjoy complexities. It's just my food I like simple. 

That's why my wife is a good match for me. She likes making simple food and she enjoys simple meals. We find it hard to dress up and go out and make a big production over having a meal. 

So it is with my meditation. I don't do anything fancy. I don't even know if what I do can properly be called meditation. 

I began with transcendental mediation, good old TM, with a guru, way back in the Philippines in the mid 70s. He and I talked and meditated together, and he gave me my mantra. This was the sound word keyed to me. It's just a starting place, the sound on which I begin to clear my mind and let other things move in and let me move out. The mantra was like water, finding a path, creating new paths, and taking me with it.

I made it a habit to meditate twice a day, every day, for twenty minutes. A quiet spot was needed, along with a hard, straight back chair. Modulating breathing, slowly letting my eyes close, feeling the mantra in me, I meditated. My friends thought it odd but they indulged me. They thought me odd.

I don't use the mantra as much as I used to. I have sort of three ways of meditating these days. One is the formal TM manner using the mantra. It doesn't get pulled out of my mental closet much.

The second method is after exercising. So people call this 'The Sponge', and in fact, I picked it up during my yoga flirtation. I lie on the floor, listen to my body, talk to it, encourage it not to sulk or give up, and make promises to it so it will continue cooperating with me.

Third, and most prevalent, is a meditation where I encourage myself to be mindful of my existence, who I am and what I want, and who I am and what I don't want. I recognize its state from the TM days, from a point reached where my breathing is deep and I'm thinking, but I'm not thinking. I'm sort of there. 

It's a refreshing, rejuvenating process. I noticed that when I become more mindful and meditate, I feel great and life seems to be going great. Then I forget to mediate. Things then darken. The news is dark. Strife is thick, doom is nigh at hand. Woe is me. 

The whole thing is simple. It's going good so I don't feel a need to meditate, and I forget. I quit being mindful. Then things start going down hill, at least in my mind.

I think that's my key to myself. I think everyone has their own key, and what will be my key will not be your key. But as I matured and refined my exercise, I notice how I plan it, mindful of what I want to accomplish, as opposed to when I was young, and it was good enough to be active, sweat and breath hard. As I've aged, I've become more mindful in my eating, more mindful how I dress and present myself, more mindful about how others perceive me. As a reader, I'm more mindful of how a writer writes and how the story and characters unfold, and as a writer, I've become more mindful of how what I write will be read. 

Jonathan Cainer's horoscope for me this year is to be more kind, more often. I attach that to being more aware, more mindful.

I don't know. Maybe it's all just in my mind. 

And now, as a cruel twist of the mind, Olivia Newton John's song, "Let's Get Physical" is stuck in my head. "Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, your body talk."

Hopefully, you've read it and I passed it on.