Allen Ginsberg’s Meditation Instruction

During an interview with a very combative interviewer, poet/wise man Allen Ginsberg offered to show him how to meditate, explaining the idea of concentrating on one’s breath and letting go of thoughts. His description of what happens during meditation has helped us greatly in gently calming our monkey brain.

 

You may find that because you’re thinking a lot that you forget you’re breathing, and you space out or your mind wanders into speculation or subconscious gossip or planning or thinking. So you just rest again and acknowledge your thoughts. You don’t push them away, you don’t invite them in, but just turn your attention back to your breath again. In that way you’re just coming back to yourself, so to speak, and to the room and to the space around you. At the same time you’re aware of your thoughts and you just observe them: acknowledging them, taking a friendly attitude toward them, not participating, just letting them go by. That tends to lead to a kind of equanimity or peacefulness and, at the same time, some sense of observation of the situation around you in a kind of nonjudgmental peacefulness. 

 

The operating words for us are

taking a friendly attitude…

 

Above, Ginsberg meditating despite a broken leg.

Role model.

 

excerpt from Allen Ginsberg: Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958-1996

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