Buddhism in Popular Media: Namaste. Portlandia’s Meditation Crush.

American Buddhist Perspective
Justin Whitaker
November 11, 2012

portlandia-meditation crush

The popular sitcom Portlandia has released a sneak-peek into next season, including this humorous clip showing characters portrayed by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein at what is presumably their first time at Vipassana meditation.
Of course it’s funny because it’s true. But like many things, that truth is only partial.

Much of meditation is what you bring to it. If you come neurotic, whiny, and selfish, then your meditations are often going to be spent dealing with these things. If you’re dealing with bad relationships or past trauma, these will consume your meditations. If your own ethics are poor, this will show up in meditation (see the video in my last post for some discussion of this by John Peacock).

But, just like going to the gym, or therapy, or taking certain drugs (pick your analogy), the initial difficulties are soon overcome. While new ones develop, there develops a certain momentum and confidence that allows you to keep going. It’s a wonderful thing.

And soon enough you can laugh at your (old) self for being so very _____ (fill in the blank) in the early days of meditation. And you can show kindness and compassion to people like the characters here, who are just beginning on that journey.

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