Meditation Is Serious Fun Business For Bizarro Comic Book Artist Dan Piraro

You’ve seen his distinctive single-panel comics everywhere – they’re published in 360 newspapers and the panels are widely shared on the web. Including here on Lion’s Roar, because its often smart, sometimes puntastic, always funny creator Dan Piraro loves a good joke about Buddhism and meditation.

Here is a small gallery of hits:

And here is his latest:

But meditation isn’t just fodder for Piraro jokes. It’s fodder for our real lives, our reality, his included. Hence his post last week, in which he wrote about openness, how we perceive reality, and how mindfulness and meditation can help. The cartoonist’s remarks reminded me of the first lines of the Dhammapadathe concise compilation of the Buddha’s teachings:

The mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All actions are mind directed, mind created.
If anyone speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering ensues,
As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.

The mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All actions are mind directed, mind created.
If one speaks or acts with a calm mind, happiness ensues,
As surely as his shadow.
[Quoted from the 1995 Parallax Press edition of the Dhammapada, translated by Ven. Ananda Maitreya]

And here is Piraro, from his post:

We talk about open-mindedness all the time, and that’s not only a nice way to be, it’s a prerequisite for controlling your reality. The next step is to recognize your own fears, traumas, expectations, misconceptions, preconceptions, prejudices, etc. – everything your brain does automatically without you really thinking about it. No matter who you are, you believe what your brain tells you without even thinking about it, and you do it thousands of times every day. Almost constantly.

Many people throughout history have found that one way to start altering your reality is through “mindfulness,” and one way to do that is through the largely misunderstood practice of meditation. Meditation is not religious and it is not thinking with your eyes closed. It’s learning to take a step back and train your awareness watch what your disturbs Is. You do not have think whatever it is, you pay attention to what your brain thinks without you asking. Eventually, this practice allows you to stop him from doing that, and when that happens, you start to experience times very differently.

It’s a subtle skill, but one that can be quite amazing. If you’re new to this, the first thing you might realize is that your brain won’t close the F-up. Already. In every waking moment of every day, he chatters about anything and everything without you asking him AT ALL. Meditation is a way to help stop this. And once that constant static begins to subside, you may find that you can direct that powerful drop inside your bone melon in more productive directions.

This is very good advice!

Luckily, if you want to start directing the mighty blob inside your bone melon in such a way, it’s that easy to do. Our How to Meditate page is a great place to start. (Just press play and follow the guided meditation there.) The trickiest part, of course, is sticking to your meditation practice. But Piraro also has good advice:

Like anything worthwhile, it takes time and practice. I dabbled in it on and off for many years, but was never able to sustain a daily meditation practice for more than a few weeks. Last January, however, I started a daily practice which I am still practicing more than six months later and although it is not very long yet, I can personally testify that the difference is profound.

As just a small practical example, for the first time in my life I can stop a musical earworm. For half a century I walked around with songs playing in my head almost constantly – usually the ones I don’t particularly like – and it drove me crazy. I can turn them off now.

And that’s just the beginning. I also find that I’m not as bothered by things, big or small. And I no longer regularly want to strangle imaginary strangers who disagree with my worldview. It has been and continues to be amazing. I just wanted to share this.

This is not a joke.

Read more from Piraro on his blog, or follow him on Instagram or Facebook.