every morning at 8am, I wake up and meditate in silence. a generous scenario I share when asked about my morning routine. in truth, I go to war.  

within 10 seconds of waking, my prefrontal cortex abruptly “enters the chat”.  with self-possessed acuity, it spins its rolodex of judgments while assembling a myspace top 8 of my most pressing concerns. the endless stream of desires and to-dos comes next. I watch as they strut onto the waking stage of my minds’ eye, yelling into the void like a madman searching for the point.

I might be a mindfulness sadist, because I flame this thought symphony by reaching for my phone and opening the email app, skimming its emoji-filled subject lines. those of which I refuse to open, with whatever dignity I retain. and yet, with glee, I edge the slippery slope of self-constraint, peering over its precipice. like some kind of consciousness airbender, I eventually transmute the crescendoing wave of self-contempt into embodied kinetic motion. with a sigh of absolution, I heave my body away from the siren calls of my all-engulfing down goose comforter.

It is 8:05am.

after staring blankly at my feet for a bit, I make my way to the altar of redemption: the coffee machine. it is there I repent and stem the spiraling spools of thought with the groundedness of a 10-step latte ritual. as the hot pungent liquid coats my insides, I can indeed confirm that yes, I have a body. that I am not just some pulsating energy cloud of thoughts and abstractions.

driving home this point, I plop my bottom onto the meditation cushion with a bit of extra gusto. aside from the cushion, it's an intentionally empty room. a complete inversion of my mental landscape from just moments before. pleased with my (lack thereof) interior design, I briefly meditate on McLuhan’s “we shape our spaces, then they shape us” adage, before recognizing that this too can become a binding desire. okay, time to start practice, partner.  

eyes closed, the burning sensation of hot ceramic activates millions of nerve endings on my hands. the somatic-neural pathways must have crossed haphazardly, because Nelly’s “hot in here” begins looping and I am transported to that one time I awkwardly twerked inside a ring of sweaty 16-yr olds at prom. poignant and riveting. so this is the kind of stuff stored in my core memory bank… bank. bank.

must channel the disposition of Buddha beneath a fig tree along the ganges river bank… awareness enters my body again, relinquished from a long voyage across space and time. suddenly I'm conscious of the unraveling narrative, the staccato of words, how they turn into fumbling sounds, and then just a cacophony of pulsating energy. as forms and sensations arise amorphously from an infinite plane. traversing from thinker to experiencer. a seam effacing onto itself, into a vast purified space... space. space.

I circle back to my (lack of) interior design decision and decide I actually do need a nice space to meditate in, so I can become one with the universe like this all the time. that wiggly coffee table I saw on the Apartment Therapy blog is the material manifestation of my soul at its highest vibration. but why does it cost $700 for a piece of curvy wood on pegs? I could totally make this on my own. is my actual calling to sell artisanal wood furniture? how do I know what my life calling is anyways? what is a life calling? what is the nature of “I” who determines that? and why do I yearn for certainty, when self-concepts around meaning are never static - but rather patterns congregating for a while, then shifting year to year, month over month, moment to moment. if i press my existence into reality, can I navigate it truthfully? surrendering into the pushes and pulls, constantly in motion. unhooking myself from static concepts and non-negotiable ideals to plug straight into reality’s pulse… pulse. pulse.

yes, I still have a pulse. blood pulsing into a brain reeling in its analysis. to think, is not to embody. to experience each lurch of the heart in high definition. to revel in the tingly static of blood coursing through hundreds of veins at once. to feel energy congealing and dissolving at the very core of my neck. to spill into the room, through translucent skin. to breathe into the hollowness of my thigh. inhale, gathering my senses. exhale, softening into what arises. concepts and language falling away -  tailwinds quicken, pulses harmonize, channels merge.

With a resounding gong, 9am arrives.  

I put down my cold coffee cup, stretch my legs, and begin my day.