For almost a year now, almost every day in the evening before dinner or before going to bed I do meditation, about 30 minutes. Pretty much every day I take my zabuton and my pillow out from under the bed, sit in front of the Buddha statuette (the one in the photo, beautiful, it is from the 1980s, made of iron and comes from Japan) I have on my bedside table, close my eyes and start meditating. Now, it may sound bullshit, but at the beginning of the meditation, starting with the close and increasing in concentric circles, I ‘send love’ to my family, to the people in my town, to all the people in my canton, to all the people in Switzerland, to all the people of the world, to all living beings. It may sound like bullshit but it sets the right mood for meditation: no anger, no malice, just love. Then I ‘feel’ my body, i.e. its weight on the pillow and the space it occupies, from my legs up to my head. After that I relax further and begin to concentrate on my breathing. Of course the mind starts jumping around and you have to bring it back to the here and now; it’s not easy but with practice it becomes automatic.

Listen, I am a sceptic by nature, I have been a sceptic since I realised at the age of 8 that Santa Claus did not exist. My approach to meditation has therefore been one of healthy scepticism. As a healthy sceptic, I can say that meditation has improved my life. Even my wife went as far as to tell me that you can see when I don’t meditate; that is, when I don’t meditate for a few days, I become more of an asshole. While I am sitting there with my mind focused on the here and now, strange things happen. Sometimes I get flashes of awareness that really stick with me, I’m not sure how to explain it but concepts like ‘all living beings are interconnected’ seem incredibly clear and real to me. What meditation is teaching me is that indeed the ensemble of aggregates that we call I is a flow and living in the flow is difficult and painful but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not saying that meditation is a cathartic experience, no, nothing happens in meditation. The first few months I really struggled with it because I didn’t really see the point. But gradually, over time, you build up a baseline of tranquillity and a relaxed mind that allows you to focus on the here and now.

There is something incredible about sitting for half an hour without doing anything, without letting your mind wander. Last September I even went on a weekend meditation retreat to a Buddhist monastery. It was an experience where I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone but it really taught me a lot. What can I say, looks like I’ve become one of those people in their 40s.