This Is Us

An Ode to Murphy, or How I Finally Learned to Meditate

Maybe we’re all a bit like my shelter dog Murphy — we’re just trying to protect ourselves

Kristin Wong
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readMar 5, 2021

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Illustration: Draden Ferguson

It’s noon, time for my daily meditation. I open the app on my phone and press play.

“Let go. Feel your seat.” My butt is already numb.

“Now gently close your eyes.” I open my eyes — a little kid watching the bad part of a movie — then close them again. Why is the refrigerator humming so loudly? Should I get that looked at?

“Allow your thoughts to pass. Notice them, like a fly on the wall.” Will the refrigerator explode in the middle of the night?

“Notice your breath.” I suck in a gust of air from my nose, startling my dog. She gets up, rolls her eyes, then sits back down across the room.

Am I doing this right? “There is no right or wrong,” a guide would probably say. “Don’t try. Just exist. Be present.”

This is where the self-help experts have led me. Feeling anxious? Meditate! Stressed about work? Meditate! Can’t shake the overwhelming sense of impending doom? Ten minutes of breathing should do the trick!

From what I gather, meditation is releasing your thoughts so you become more…

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Kristin Wong
Human Parts

Kristin Wong has written for the New York Times, The Cut, Catapult, The Atlantic and ELLE.