Something I have started doing over the past few days is religiously relevant (and based on stuff I’m reading/have read in Plato and Proclus), so I will briefly share it here before continuing on with my day. Meditation is useful for calming the mind, and having a calm mind is an asset during religious ritual.
The Headspace meditation I do every day begins with several deep breaths before closing the eyes, taking in the sounds of the world around oneself, and feeling the weight of one’s body. It progresses to a body scan, where we start at the top of the head and progress down to get a sense of how the body is feeling in space. It is followed by a moment to get a sense of one’s general mood/emotions. What I’ve been doing — and something I have found extremely helpful on days like today when I woke up and things felt like they were going wrong from the very beginning, only interrupted by will and the grounding sensations of the extra prayers I did — is following the body scan with a “chunking” of the self into three bins, loosely corresponding to one’s desires and appetites, emotions, and mind (see this post for some context if necessary).
It’s easier to do this during the 20-minute meditation, as the time between various prompts is quite spacious, and to move on to focusing on the breath once the prompt indicates it is time.
Through doing this, I am slowly working to discern what is going on inside when there is disorder and/or when things are not going well. A lot of it (unsurprisingly) is emotions, and emotions being disconnected from one’s appetites, and one’s rational bit not managing the situation well because I am oblivious to myself. It’s like being pulled by the central part of a triangle instead of stably resting. I think I can draw an example from the recent panic buying so many people were doing during the early days of the pandemic. Most of us had enough food, and yet the emotional parts of us were worried about safety and security, misapprehending that in truth the desiring parts of us were legit OK — and then rationality steps in and greets this with self-censure instead of by taking a deep breath and doing self-reconnaissance to learn the actual problem, the first step in good self-governance.
γνῶθι σεαυτόν, everyone. I hope this is useful. 💛