Tonight 'round about 5 PM MST, #OccupySLC hosted a "flash meditation" in Temple Square.
The first time I ever heard the term "flash meditation" I believe my exact, sardonic, aren't-I-clever words were "sounds tricky."
Well har-de-har-har, Charles, you prick. It turns out that meditation is scientifically proven to be beneficial to your well-being, and to boot, it builds a more thoughtful, inclusive way to relate to the world around you. As pro-meditation flash mob hub MedMob states:
Our intention is to create an environment for people from all religions, all world views, and all experience levels to join together in meditation. Our vision is to continue inspiring world-wide meditations until the entire world is invited to join - literally!Tonight was cold. Colder than I anticipated. But the lights were up, and beautiful. As I've said before, if I had my druthers, we'd have Christmas lights up year round.
Thankfully I found my way to the beginning of the flash meditation. It went well (at least, the early stages that I was there for).
While we sat and meditated, the beautiful light displays that the LDS Church spends so much time and effort on were splendidly arrayed around us. There was no rowdy "protesting," no hostility - as a matter of fact, the people I saw made a point of smiling at and engaging with curious onlookers.
One woman, hustling by with her children, growled something about "protesters," and I did something I rarely do - I engaged her.
"We're not protesting," I said as politely as I could. She looked confused, and then collected her youngsters and was on her way without another word.
Why were we there? Why a flash meditation?
As has become the common refrain for #Occupiers, I can only speak for myself.
I was there to demonstrate that despite the fact that I am an atheist, despite the fact that I am a skeptic and a free thinker, and despite the fact that I am a political radical, there are things that bring us all together.
As we meditated, the soft glow of Christmas lights played over the faces of families, children, hippie anarchists and curious observers alike. Christian hymns played on a loudspeaker, and brilliant white illuminated statues of various Mormon figures abounded.
I had to leave a little early, but a few things gave me hope.
First of all, there was no attempt to make an arrogant claim that we were #Occupying "Temple Square" &c. That would have been disrespectful at best and silly at worst.
Second, our entire purpose in being there was to celebrate solidarity with our community - to enjoy the lights, the season, to nourish our roots in the community. I myself, for example, live only a few blocks from Temple Square, and rarely go there. That should change, lack of religious convictions or no.
So cheer up. Spread some holiday cheer. #OSLC will be hosting more "Really Really Free Markets" in the near future (stay tuned), so come get some free apples and/or yarn things and learn about a world in which you aren't a suicidal drone trapped in the razor-sharp entrails of a godless machine.