Reform or Revolution? An ASMR Guided Meditation | Philosophy TubeOtis Rodgers November 17, 2019 100 Comments
This is a guided meditation on peace, presentness, and political revolution. Find a place where you can sit comfortably perhaps resting your hands on your knees. You may wish to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Or, if you’re not too tired, you may like to lie down on your back. Whatever position suits you. Make sure that your chest is open and you may wish to allow your eyes to gently close, or find a point in the room where you can rest your focus. Begin by noticing your breathing. Feel your chest rising and falling, your belly expanding in… …and out. You don’t have to change the way you breathe, just… …becoming aware of it. In… …and out. Notice also, that society can be thought of as being made up of groups of people with conflicting and irreconcilable economic interests which we call… …classes. You don’t have to change society in this moment. This is your moment. Your time. Just notice class conflict and be aware of it. This will be our anchor as we proceed on this journey. And now let’s take three deep, relaxing breaths. As you release the air in your lungs you may wish to repeat in your mind the topics of today’s meditation. And with each breath I invite you to experience a doubling of your relaxation. Let’s take the first of these three breaths… …now. Breathing in… …peace… …and out. Very good. Breathing normally in between, becoming even more relaxed with each breath. Let’s take the second breath… …now. In… …presentness… …and release. Fantastic job. Aware of your chest rising and falling. Let’s take the third and final breath… …now. Breathing in… …political revolution… [whispering] …and out. Well done. Don’t worry if your breathing doesn’t match the sound of my voice. It is all good and it is all okay. Just becoming even more aware of breath and beginning… …slowly… …to relax. As we breathed those three relaxing breaths You may have noticed a slight tingling sensation spreading from the top of your head down through your shoulders… …arms… …chest… …right down the tips of your toes. This sensation is available to you throughout this meditation. Whenever you desire. Don’t be distressed or upset if you become distracted by thoughts or sounds in the room. Just keep coming back to breath. The world can be chaotic and we can lose focus when we think about what we might like to change or something we wish we could control. But just invite yourself to come back to breath… …and the model of class conflict. Breathing in… …and out. As you sink deeper and deeper into this relaxed state of awareness you may begin to notice the position of your body. The surfaces you are in contact with. The temperature of the room. And you may also notice your body’s position in the system of global capitalism. And the air continues to flow. Becoming even more relaxed, even more aware. Now, in this relaxed state, we are ready to consider the revolution. As you breathe in and out Receive an invitation to the idea that revolution will look different for you if you are in a bourgeois nation enriched by global capitalism than it might for someone in a country impoverished by it. Returning always to breath and class conflict. When we think about revolution we may imagine it as… …destructive… …or violent. We may conjure images of past revolutions that we think fell short, or make jokes about sending landlords and capitalists to violent ends. We may shy away from this image. Whether because we are liberals rather than socialists, or because we were raised in liberal capitalist societies. that maintain a hold on our thoughts Or perhaps out of compassion… …and love for our fellow human beings. Whoever they may be. Whatever the reason, we may desire to avoid revolution, but simply agitate for reform within capitalist society… …while maintaining its comforts. But although revolution means a break with the old ways of doing things, it need not be fundamentally destructive, but instead an act of creation. It may be scary or painful, like bringing a new child into the world. But it is the birthing of a new way of life, rather than the gradual managing of decay and bargaining with entropy that liberal democracy has become. This is not to say that we cannot learn from our mistakes or come to an understanding of history. Simply that, in considering the revolution, we want our focus to be on the present and not our anxieties about the past. Do not judge yourself if you have doubts. Simply observe them… …and let them go. We may become anxious or depressed when we ruminate on the past and witness the destruction and pain that can seem to… …surround us. We can be upset by the wickedness of others and wonder how it is that human beings can have done so many awful things to each other or the planet. Conversely, we may rejoice at small changes that we have managed to win in the past. Through elections and trade unions in the struggle for a fairer world. But the past is not real, and exists only in our memories in the present, where breath and class conflict remain and where we want our focus to be. Breathing in… …peace… …and out. Each breath deepening your relaxation and your awareness. When we are not dwelling on the past, we often project our thoughts about revolution into the future as if it will be some messianic event— waiting just out of reach— that will save us from the frightening things in our world. But the future also does not exist. It is only anticipation in the present moment. When we think of the revolution as a specific event, like an armed uprising that will take place in the future, We can become concerned about whether our actions take us closer to our idea of that event, or farther away. We may become fixated on the purity of our vision, focusing only on the ideal classless future, and neglecting other forms of oppression that others struggle against in the here and now. Or we may become anxious, Thinking that it is an impossible task or that we would have nothing to contribute, imagining instead that the future revolution will be led by anti-fascist cat girls or revolutionary daddies who will do the fighting for us. This can turn us against each other or make us doubt ourselves, wondering whether what we or those around us are doing is truly revolutionary, or merely reform. It is okay to have these doubts. Simply recognize them and return to the present moment —to breath and the desire to abolish the class system. By noticing and letting go of doubts and not judging ourselves or others for having them, we become prepared to take and wield power in the present. To neither retreat into ruminating on how we have been hurt in the past by the current political system, nor project our desire for change onto imaginary future heroes, but instead, in the present moment, to realize the energy inside of ourselves that we can use to lead the revolution… …now. Breathing in… …presentness… …and out. When we look at the revolution either as a distant project of the future or the redemption of the past, we often imagine it as a moral crusade, springing from the best impulses of our hearts and someday bringing about a lasting justice. But this way of thinking can also bind us and stop us from seeing a way forward in the present. It is easy to become overwhelmed or disappointed when our own sense of justice is not met, and to become concerned with how the resources of our world are distributed rather than the conditions under which they are extracted and produced. We stray from the present, and class conflict, and it is easy to conflate our moral desire for a better world with the ideals of participation in bourgeois democracies in which we are raised. That is not to say that we must abandon our moral ideals or close our hearts to democratic participation, or the suffering of others. Or that our smaller efforts to make the world a better place are necessarily a misuse of our time. It is mainly to appreciate that a revolution is more than a change in the distribution of goods, or a struggle to get a slightly fairer deal. It is the struggle to abolish the causes of that injustice, not merely its symptoms, which are fleeting, and can flare up chaotically as long as class conflict persists. Breathing in… …political revolution… …and out. Aware of your chest, your belly, that tingling sensation in your head, shoulders, chest, and down through your legs. You may become aware that you were holding tension in your neck, or your jaw, or cognitive tension brought about by trying to reconcile the internal contradictions of capitalism. With your next breath, just invite any tense muscles… …to let go. In a moment, we will count backwards from five and gradually return to our normal awareness. But first, take a moment to suspend yourself in this relaxed state, as if deep in an ocean. The waves sway overhead, but you are still and calm. And now we will begin to surface with five short phrases. You may wish to repeat them in your mind, or out loud. Whatever is best for you. Beginning with… …five’s: I am aware of my breath. And now… …four: I am aware of my body, becoming more aware with each breath. Three: I am aware of class conflict. Breathing in and out, with… …two: I am aware of the revolutionary energy inside me. And now… …finally… …one: I embrace revolution in the present moment. Fantastic job. If you wish, you can stay in this relaxed state for as long as you desire. Or you may wish to continue your day, renewed with this energy. Just remember to allow your awareness to always return to breath and the present moment [whispering] and the desire to abolish the class system. This meditation was written and performed by Oliver Thorn and recorded with the help of Mannbros Media. Patreon.com/PhilosophyTube is where you can support the show, and find a list of the generous patrons who make it possible.