Let's start with a somewhat strange story.
I have a history of intermittent meditation. I had a fling with buddhism about 10 years ago, broke away from it all, got into tantra, studied NLP, discovered that it's bullshit...
Several weeks ago, I was in a pub with a very close friend of mine. Late at night, we started challenging each other with NLP bullshit, by way of "I can talk you into a trance. See how you're getting tired and relaxed?"... That kind of stuff. We do that. We both have that background. It's fun to us.
Then I switched gears. "How about some meditation. Right now, right here, in the presence of 18year old boozers and lovely young girls?" Of course, ourselves had had a few Guinnesses and Jamesons and were fairly pissed by that time.
"Sure", he says. He couldn't step down from that challenge of course.
And we both went into a session of vipassana.
It was an odd, but strangely liberating thing. It felt good. It felt like breaking a taboo. Very empowering, that. I never thought that one could meditate on booze!
That whole ordeal sent me into a journey of rediscovering meditation, once more.
And I am seeing some changes.
As I'm *) breaking away from some automatic emotional reactions through mindfulness and some tantric breathing, I have a very weird feeling.
I look at reddit threads and other internet content and go: Huh. This would have had me all up in rage only a week ago. I would have HAD to comment on that. It would have been completely impossible to let that go.
Right now (and, fingers crossed, for a little longer! :-) ), a lot of things just don't get me upset so much. I laugh a bit more. I don't take it all as serious as I used to.
It is just that little bit easier to not get upset.
This is very, very liberating.
Don't get me wrong. I am very, very aware that this is nothing final or permanent at all, and I will have my share in a lot of useless drama still. But right now, this is utterly enjoyable.
I was at a somewhat similar place like this, back during my fling with buddhism. There's a huge difference though (mainly due to being 10 years older, I guess). This time, there is less pretension. Less need for some extraordinary experiences. Less urge to repress my thoughts (in order to appear holier to myself). I don't need all the metaphysical woo-woo just to be able to sit down and practice.
There is simply more joy now.
The main point, though, is that I now have more experience, and so I can trust my own practice better. I know what to expect, and more importantly: what NOT to. No superpowers. No transcendence. No loss of control. No weird becoming-other-than-human. I know that I can go back to normal, just by not practicing for a while.
This is good. This is very good.
I think, for the very first time in my life, I can say without cheese or irony: May all sentient beings find peace of mind!
(Also, don't worry, I still don't claim enlightenment for myself, and in most likelihood, I never will. After all, I do not believe that enlightenment actually EXISTS, remember?)
*) slowly, temporarily, just a little bit...