This week on Parks & Rec: Ron Swanson did not meditate
Two weeks ago on 30 Rock
(one of the big Thursday NBC comedies), main character Liz Lemon
meditated. This week, on Parks and Recreation (another big Thursday NBC
comedy), Ron Swanson, played brilliantly as always by Nick Offerman
, did not
meditate. Repeat: Did not
Yes, the “Don’t Tread on Me”-government-hating government worker did
go to a meditation center of some kind, in a rare moment of deference
to his health-nut pseudo-boss Chris (Rob Lowe), who sometimes goes in
for spiritual or even New Agey stuff. But Ron’s only along to get chummy
enough with Chris that he can keep his plum job of being paid to do as
little as possible.
So what did
Ron do in there if he wasn’t meditating? Chris may think that a post-sit Ron “radiates mindfulness” but as Ron himself puts it:
All told, we were in there about six hours. And no, I was
not meditating. I just stood there quietly breathing. There were no
thoughts in my head whatsoever; my mind was blank.* I don’t know what
those crackpots [in there] were doing.
Of course, Ron has
been warned. When he asks Anne (Rashida
Jones) what to expect from meditation, she answers right away: “It’s
crazy boring, it lasts forever, you’re going to wish you were dead.”.
Chris (Rob Lowe) meditates; Ron prefers to stand
When the obsessively individualistic Ron tells us that meditation
does nothing for him, there’s reason to believe him. But then, the
important thing is that he’s tried it. Even if he didn’t
anything out of it. The enthusiastic and impulsive (and often wrong)
Chris agrees: Ron’s willingness to try meditation (even if he tells us
that he hasn’t
tried it) is impressive. He assures Ron that his plum-job security will be extended.
Later — there are plenty more meditation jokes in the episode, by the way, and other storylines, too – Ron does
revisit meditation, even bringing it into the workplace… but just as a cover for work avoidance.
So maybe Ron Swanson and meditation weren’t a natural pair. Again:
The important thing is that he tried it — even if he didn’t get anything
out of it.
And even if he really did..
* Note: Yes, some of that Related: Watch Steven Colbert challenge the Dalai Lama in a competition to be the more influential of TIME’s “100 Most Influential List”
ironic stuff Ron is saying about meditation, like about having a blank
mind, et cetera, isn’t quite representative of many meditation
experiences, not least Buddhist meditation experiences. And so it could
be said that some of the jokes, which are about the fact that Ron
actually was meditating, when he thinks he wasn’t, don’t totally work. But then, it’s Nick Offerman delivering the jokes, so it all balances out.
This entry was created by Rod Meade Sperry - From The Worst Horses Mouth, posted on April 20, 2012 at 9:29 am and tagged Humor, Meditation, Mindfulness, Pop Culture. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.Comments (3)
Beth W, via Facebook · 1 day ago
Ron had the best non-meditation ever. Tilopa · 1 day ago
Beyond all mental images the mind is naturally clear:
Follow no path to follow the path of the Buddhas;
Employ no technique to gain supreme enlightenment.
KYE MA! Listen with sympathy!
With insight into your sorry worldly predicament,
Realising that nothing can last, that all is as dreamlike illusion,
Meaningless illusion provoking frustration and boredom,
Turn around and abandon your mundane pursuits.
Cut away involvement with your homeland and friends
And meditate alone in a forest or mountain retreat;
Exist there in a state of non-meditation
And attaining no-attainment, you attain Mahamudra.
A tree spreads its branches and puts forth leaves,
But when its root is cut its foliage withers;
So too, when the root of the mind is severed,
The branches of the tree of samsara die.
A single lamp dispels the darkness of a thousand aeons;
Likewise, a single flash of the mind's clear light
Erases aeons of karmic conditioning and spiritual blindness.
KYE HO! Listen with joy!
The truth beyond mind cannot be grasped by any faculty of mind;
The meaning of non-action cannot be understood in compulsive activity;
To realise the meaning of non-action and beyond mind,
Cut the mind at its root and rest in naked awareness.
Allow the muddy waters of mental activity to clear;
Refrain from both positive and negative projection -
leave appearances alone:
The phenomenal world, without addition or subtraction, is Mahamudra. Karuna · 1 day ago
I think it's funny that Ron is saying that he didn't meditate but just
stood there with his mind blank is hilarious! Just look what happens
when one surrenders!