The first installment in the Possum series of videos:
Here’s the script, pretty much as it is in the video:
Possum: Our human friends, they’re all worried about COVID, and about the election, and about racism. Me, I’m worried about global climate change. I guess I’m just worried — and kind of stressed out.
Sharpie: Those are big things for you to feel worried about.
Possum: Yeah, I know. And there isn’t much that one opossum can do about those big things. But — some of my friends were telling me about this mindfulness stuff, that I could try it and I’d immediately feel better. Can you tell me how to do that mindfulness stuff?
Sharpie: Well… It’s a soteriological solution based in the non-Western notions of samsara and nirvana, and applying it to a Western postmodern context may not be philosophically defensible.
Possum: Sharpie, I don’t even know what you just said. I’m worried, and stressed out, and I need to do something to feel better. Can you help me?
Sharpie: Well, I can tell you about Confucian quiet-sitting. It’s a kind of mindfulness, and maybe it will help.
Mr. Bear [coming onstage]: If you’re going to do something like that, I’m feeling stressed out too. I’d like to participate, too.
Sharpie: Humans sit in a chair, but we can just sit on the ground. With your back straight, your eyes slightly down, and your hands on your knees…
Possum Sharpie, we don’t have knees.
Sharpie: Just put your hands where they’re comfortable. Pay attention to your mind-heart. Now let yourself become quiet. Think about what you’ve done today. If you’ve done things that make you feel uncomfortable, think about what you would have done differently. If you’ve done things that make you feel like you’re a good person, think about how you can do them again. Sit quietly, and think about how you can extend your good will out into the world.
[They begin sitting quietly. Possum begins to fidget….]
Clock ticking — DISSOLVE — Clock moves ahead, Possum is completely distracted. — DISSOLVE — title: “15 minutes later…..”
Sharpie: OK, let’s stop quiet-sitting now.
Mr. Bear: That was really good! Thank you, Sharpie. I feel much calmer. I feel more in touch with who I am.
EXIT Mr. Bear
Possum: Sharpie, quiet-sitting didn’t work for me.
Sharpie: I could see that.
Possum: It’s just that sitting still isn’t something I’m good at.
Sharpie: Sitting meditation doesn’t work for everyone, Possum. I’ll tell you what, next time we’ll try some yoga exercises.
Possum: That sounds good!
CC BY 4.0 UUCPA
For more about quiet-sitting, see
“Confucianism: A Short Introduction”
by John H. and Evelyn Nagai Berthrong