The call went out on Facebook — which, despite its increasing levels of creepiness, is still where we turn to make something inherently ridiculous happen with a large number of co-conspirators.
“Who wants to take part in the first ever high-tech competitive meditation tournament?” I wrote. Naturally, it took mere seconds for a friend to say what I would hear a hundred times over the rest of the month: “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”
“Exactly why I love it!” I shot back.
By turns performance art, subtle comedy, nail-biting sport, cutting-edge tech demo, and something with the genuine potential to help a large number of people live better lives: competitive meditation, I thought, had it all. The first friend to declare it an oxymoron also gave my tournament the perfect title: March Mindfulness.
To create a sport, of course, you need a way to score it. How do you measure meditation? In the ancient Hindu texts called the Puranas, another friend replied, there are stories of meditators trying to prove they were the best by slowing their pulse rates or holding up a mirror to their mouths to show how little they were breathing.
Turns out we're hardly the first competitive society. It's just that these days, we have a more precise way to measure meditation. One that doesn't involve trying to asphyxiate yourself or induce a coma.
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