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The Incredible Buddha Boy
George Saunders • GQ • June 2006
A legend is growing in Nepal, where people say a meditating boy hasn’t eaten or drunk in seven months. He barely moves, just sits under a tree, still as a stone. It’s impossible, some say. Is it a miracle? A hoax? Let’s find out.
You know that feeling at the end of the day, when the anxiety of that-which-I-must-do falls away and, for maybe the first time that day, you see, with some clarity, the people you love and the ways you have, during that day, slightly ignored them, turned away from them to get back to what you were doing, blurted out some mildly hurtful thing, projected, instead of the deep love you really feel, a surge of defensiveness or self-protection or suspicion? That moment when you think, Oh God, what have I done with this day? And what am I doing with my life? And what must I change to avoid catastrophic end-of-life regrets?
I feel like that now: tired of the Me I’ve always been, tired of making the same mistakes, repetitively stumbling after the same small ego strokes, being caught in the same loops of anxiety and defensiveness. At the end of my life, I know I won’t be wishing I’d held more back, been less effusive, more often stood on ceremony, forgiven less, spent more days oblivious to the secret wishes and fears of the people around me. So what is stopping me from stepping outside my habitual crap?
My mind, my limited mind.
The Quiet Hell of Extreme Meditiation
Michael Finkel • Men's Journal • August 2012
A trip to India for total silence.
It works. My senses, all of them, grow incredibly sharp. When I step on a twig, it sounds like a firecracker. A sneeze is nearly deafening. I sit, during a break, in front of a bush, and I note that every leaf is a slightly different shade of green. I watch a leaf-cutter ant at work, and I move a little closer, and it's true—I can actually hear it gnawing.
This, however, is also true: Pondering your schnoz is insanely dull. I'm not even sure how I get through it. Minute by minute, one session after another. My back does not get better. I am stuck at waterfall with no sign of impending river. Every time I pass a "Be Happy!" sign, I have to stop myself from ripping it down.
Sex and Death on the Road to Nirvana
Nina Burleigh • Rolling Stone • June 2013