I often have problems connecting my laptop to the internet. I blame the laptop (although the laptop tells me that the problem is my router). I blame the laptop because none of the other devices in the house – my husband’s three laptops, my work laptop, our smartphones – have these same problems.
When I want to write for my blog, I open the laptop, boot up, and check my connection. Sometimes – maybe 1 time out of 10, it connects right away; most of the time, it does not. The Troubleshooter goes through the motions and, once out of every, oh, 100 times, it fixes the problem; the rest of the time, it blames the router.
So I reboot. 1 time out of 10, that will fix it. The other 9 times, I reboot again.
And the game goes on, until it finally connects.
Occasionally, it refuses to connect even after rebooting 10 times; then I either dig out the WiFi password, tell it to forget my WiFi and reconnect. Or I give up and write in Word and save the document to post until the next time I log on.
Sometimes, while I am writing offline, it connects to WiFi, all on it’s own.
Sometimes, while I am connected to WiFi, it disconnects, all on it’s own.
It is, as you can imagine, a tremendously frustrating process.
At first, I fought it. I Googled solutions and tried those. I tried downloading new drivers. I even asked my husband – who, in a previous life, was the guy at work that you called when your equipment wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. He worked his magic and told me he was stumped.
So it has been like this since I bought it.
This morning, as I was watching the little spinning circle in the middle of the screen with the word, Restart, above it for the seventh time, it occurred to me that this is a good analogy for meditation.
There you are, you just want to connect, and your mind wanders – lost the connection. You could lose patience with yourself; or you could just Restart.
You start to focus on your breath, relax your body, let your mind relax – and you lose the connection. Restart.
Again, you open your mind to the sky, let the thoughts flow out – Restart.
You start to wonder if it is you. What are you doing wrong? Maybe something is broken in your drivers. Maybe you’re not configured correctly. You recognize that what you are doing is unhelpful. Diagnostics are a rabbit hole.
Perhaps you grow resentful about all the Restarting. You shouldn’t have to do this; this should be easier. No one else has these problems. It must be you. Something must wrong with you. Restart.
Or maybe you become obsessed with blaming others. Stupid meditation. You curse out the people who invented it, or tell yourself you should have started a different kind of meditation, a better meditation. You shouldn’t have let someone talk you into this meditation. There are so many meditations out there, it’s hard to find a practice that works for you. And then you realize what a waste of time all this obsessing and blaming is when all you want to do is connect.
Sometimes when I meditate, I picture all these thoughts and emotions as if they were someone else’s, a child who lives in my heart. Instead of ranting and railing and weeping with despair, I let her rant and rave and weep with despair. It’s not fair! She rages. Everyone else can make this work. No one else has the problems that I have! I’m so stupid. Poor child, I think with compassion, so lost; a bundle of emotion.
And I give her a hug.