As a creative exercise Lynda Barry often suggests people to vividly visualize a scene from their past. She suggests a granularity I had never considered with things like: look down at your feet & what do you see. This process has been something I find myself doing, not as a journaling habit but rather as something that has invaded my meditation.
Perhaps that’s a few steps ahead of where I should have started. I’ve gone back to meditation. I abandoned the practice out of laziness but with all the things I’ve tried to alleviate my anxiety, it is the only thing that has any effect. (Though I have been learning some therapeutic techniques I may touch upon in the future.) As a consequence of my recent back injury, my back and neck muscles are tensed to the point that I’m brutal pain most nights. The meditation is also usefull for the slow process of convincing my body to relax them.
I try to be mindful in my meditations. I try to focus on my breathing but if something fascinating in my mind happens I will follow it. I’ll go chasing rainbows. I suppose I have a transcendental tendency. This is where the vivid recollections have invaded my meditation. I find myself thinking of places and times that I haven’t thought of for a very long time; places that are indistinct because if remembered at all they were seen via passing glances.
I thought last night of the school I went to in sixth grade. In my mind I moved through the grounds remembering the where’s of every grade, every room, every bench and book. It seems I remember the school quite well. But despite all the spacial information I had, I discovered that I couldn’t remember all of the kids from that class. (I think there were only 12 of us.) Try as I could I was unable to fill the simple roll call.
What I also discovered was that I had a particularly precise memory of one specific classroom. I could even remember which desk I had sat in. But after thinking for sometime I realized that my memory was false. I had not been there for that grade. I had not sat in that room or that desk. I had simply been told the story by those who had been there of a kid who had shit his pants in class and tried to spoon it into the garbage can without anyone noticing. The story had made such an impression upon my young mind that I had imagined myself there and the false memory had endured my entire life. It had manifested itself into a reality. Such is the power of the human mind.
And while becoming Indiana Jones in my own mind is not a suggested form of meditation, I find that looking for light in those deep caverns captures the spirit of the meditative practice. Remembering has sparked me. It has lightened me or enlightened me. It seems that indifference to even the small things of the past exhausts us; it strains our muscles. We must relive to be relieved.