I remember very vividly the first time I saw the original “Ghostbusters” movie. There are a lot of great lines to take away from that film but as a kid this was what stuck with me. There is a scene in which the otherworldly evil “villain” if you will, is primed to manifest itself as whatever is running through the minds of our heroes, the ghostbusters. All they have to do is think of nothing and…well…problem solved. Of course in that very moment it’s not possible.
“I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft.”
– Dr. Ray Stantz (AKA Dan Akyroyd)
No spoilers from there. If you have never seen the original movie, put it on your bucket list. One of the all time greats (is there anything with Bill Murray that isn’t?).
At the time, the whole concept of clearing one’s mind was completely foreign to me. I remember trying to do that. I’d spend nights lying awake wondering, could I, facing the same situation have thought of nothing? I practiced. I usually (always) failed.
Would a giant unicorn have been worse? Probably. That horn…ooo.
It wasn’t until just last week when I caught a few minutes of “Ghostbusters” while cruising through the channels, that I made the connection that perhaps I was introduced to meditation a lot earlier than I’d realized. I’m not saying that striving hard to clear your mind and think of “nothing” is the only way, or the best way to meditate. But hey….it was a good place to start.
So I encourage you all today to do a little role playing. Pick your character (sorry Mr. Murray I’m still in love with Harold Ramis) and play ghostbuster for a day. See if you’re more successful at clearing your mind. The greatest thing about meditation is that it’s okay to fail. The practice is about failing to clear your mind, and simply returning to a state of presence again, and again. Failure after failure. Besides you’ll be under a lot less pressure than our ghostbuster friends.
But, just to be safe, please try to keep the giant unicorns out.