Today I was reminded that a year ago, I had re-posted an Brain Pickings article on Facebook about Jack Kerouac’s fascination with meditation. I was moved to re-read the post and found it as interesting, enlightening and a jolt to the spirit as the first time through. Here is a link…
Seeing the accompanying photo of the broodingly handsome Kerouac made me think of my attraction to these poets and the beat generation. When I was very young, beatniks were a popular counter-culture first introduced to me through a TV comedy where rich kid Dobie Gilles had a kooky beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs played by Bob Denver. Maynard was not a deep thinker, but loveable all the same. My first impression was certainly not rooted in reality. Imagine that!
Later, in high school , our American Literature teacher would read aloud from Ginsberg’s Howl and talk wistfully about other beat poets like Ferlinghetti, Cassady and Kerouac as well as the Naked Lunch author, William S. Burroughs. Our teacher’s fondness of this group seemed so opposite of his political views, it almost made me like him.
On my first trip to San Francisco, I made my way to the City Lights bookstore to see if any of that energy remained. While no longer the vocal center of a generation, it was then and still, is a great place for independent thought. The words of the beat poets certainly remain and their message is a timeless one.
Kerouac was fascinated with Eastern thought and it is an underlying current in his work. Anyone who has attempted to meditate will appreciate the struggle to quiet the mind and on the rare occasion of success, understand the reward, may enjoy this passage….
HOW TO MEDITATE
— lights out —
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
I hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance — Healing
all my sicknesses — erasing all — not
even the shred of a “I-hope-you” or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it out, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes — and
with joy you realize for the first time
“Thinking’s just like not thinking —
So I don’t have to think
Please read the article. may you find that good, glad fluid.