Why Meditate

It's not that meditation makes us happier or richer or faster. Meditation helps us see at things as they are. Starting with ourselves. When you see yourself as you are, you accept your own uglies and pretties. When you know what you are, you'll know what things you can and cannot do. You’ll understand the consequences of your actions and inaction. You don't hate the world around you because you'd know that you yourself aren't exempt from things that you cannot change.

(And there is much relief in simply not hating or coveting in everysinglemoment of our lives. Wallah.)

Once you see yourself clearer, you'll start seeing the world clearer too. When you see the world clearer, you'll be less surprised by the things that happen in it. It's not passive, antisocial indifference. It's more like, "this is what the world needs, and this is what you can do." So that your hopes become more realistic. And when your hopes are realistic, you'll face less disappointments. With less disappointments comes hope. With hope grows trust in your strengths and limitations. Which helps you accept your purposes in life, in every day, in reading this. And if you can accept your roles, how could you not grow a belief in a more forgiving and understanding afterlife?

(And if you can just consider the possibility of a happy ending, how could you not give it a shot?)

It's not that meditation makes us happier or richer or skinnier. Meditation can't change light-bulbs. It can, however, help you be aware of that broken light bulb and the realistic steps that'll take to fix it.


The She-Demon

She smelled of velvet midnight. Something sweet and inviting. Something that Saudi women wore to weddings or seduction. She smelled extremely atypical of me, that I had to look around for broken perfume bottles before realizing that it wasn't, couldn't possibly be me. And that I wasn't alone in my room.

I've been meditating more regularly, which made astral projections easier. I’m so new at this that it’s impossible for me not to be curious, hence my travels to Saudi more, uh, frequent. Rituals aside, the way she announced herself said a lot of things. That she didn't slam into my face or started goosebumps or chilled the room. The way she announced herself allowed for slow comprehension, "What is that smell? I have nothing that smells like that. Who is…shit!" It was the most polite I've ever been announced to.

Demons aren't usually that polite in announcing their presence. Usually, when they do, they jump my awareness with sudden show of face or limb or roaring. One of the residents in my mother's house in Jeddah, announced himself by rabbit-jumping between me and the elevator. He was all teeth and hollow eye sockets, limbs spread apart in a pre-hug stance or utter mischief. (I frowned and walked through him.) The ones in my house in Jakarta are more aggressive. On certain nights of the week, they gather and party around my bed. The tiles reverberate, the windows creak and the she-demon from the Ring crawls towards my bed in menace. I would itch and scratch myself like mad. (Remember Lady Macbeth's insanity?)

The she-demon from last night got credit for politeness. Which meant that there was a message or a purpose in her visit. Not a random show of mischief. This morning, over breakfast and as flat as brick, my master told me that she had brought a male companion who did not enter the house and waited outside on the porch.

Their message was, "May we serve?"

I don't know why they do that, why they offer their services to humans. I’m only guessing that being a demon can be pretty boring. You know, extended longevity and deep wisdom and lack of twitter followers. If boredom is a common experience among jinn and man, then I can relate.

Though I still wonder how they found me. And if that's obvious, why they chose to follow me of all astral travelers. Sure, I might have been visiting people in Saudi a little too often because, well, for every reason you might guess. And to be perfectly honest, I may not always travel with the purest and most celibate intentions. (Shush. Stop smiling like that.)

Which made realize that, if increased traffic gave me away in their radars, then they might have retraced anyone else who has been traveling here to reach me too. And if intent had a smell, and the one that appeared last night smelled like velvet midnight, then...Oh damn.


And the one at the door...Incubus?



Kiki’s Gift

I like when Kiki stays with me in Jakarta. He never burdens me with hospitality. He is more than intelligent company. And going to bed knowing for sure that "there is someone else human in the house" is a snug security.

That he isn’t shy to shower me with tokens of gratefulness is a whole other thing to like. Once, he fixed the house's water pump; saving me from so much worry about the basic standards of human livability. Another time, when both I and the house were too sick to receive him, he gave a bottle of my favorite brand of water and a book of poetry.

Kiki’s last gift, though, was more generous and intimate than oral sex and kept me squatting around the house for a week: He scrubbed the bathroom.

You know it is sincere when the Universe is stirred to blog about it. I could tell you how, afterward, every bathroom trip felt like a treat. I could tell you how scrubbing the house for a week - room by room, tile by tile - left me with little need for yoga and in much need for a beautician. And I could also tell you how my relationship with the house effected my relationship with my family in more endearing ways than we have had in a year. All that could bubble into long soaps.

But I want to stop at that moment when inspiration sprung and slipped through my nose. That moment when everything that could be wrong in the world dimmed with renewed faith in housekeeping.

When Kiki bid us, me and this old house in Jakarta, his kind and clean leave.

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