“They went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return.”
There’s not a lot about the Lotus-eaters in the Odyssey – the primary passage quoted above is pretty much it but the concept resonated enough that in spite of the lack of a classical education, most people these days will recognise the term “lotus-eater”. Synonyms in the Merriam-Webster dictionary abound: couch potato, deadbeat, do-nothing, drone, idler, layabout, loafer, slouch, slug, slugabed, sluggard.
Some forms of meditation calm the mind by focusing on the body. If the body is basically comfortable (not hungry, not cold, not in pain, not tired), then it’s reasonably easy to bathe in bodily-contentment. After meditation, the contentment persists for awhile and if one meditates in this fashion frequently, then it is actually quite easy when not meditating to detect the beginnings of agitation and seek the centre of one’s body thus calming the mind at that very moment.
The usefulness of this skill is pretty obvious. However, the question is not when you should apply the skill, but rather, when you should not.
Are you a lotus-eater? If so, when do you choose to be agitated? Do you have an Ithaca to return to?