Lena Dunham Shows Why It’s So Damn Hard to Meditate: A Four-Minute Comedy

Sit, focus on your breath, let errant thoughts drift past — we know how med­i­ta­tion sup­pos­ed­ly works in the­o­ry, but how does it work in prac­tice? Here we have one exam­ple, which comed­ical­ly plays out at Sun­set Boule­vard’s show-biz-sto­ry-sat­u­rat­ed Chateau Mar­mont. It stars Lena Dun­ham, film­mak­er, writer, cre­ator of the HBO series Girls, and, depend­ing on who’s writ­ing about her, the embod­i­ment of the aspi­ra­tions, delu­sions, or anx­i­eties of a gen­er­a­tion. Any way the pro­files frame it, Dun­ham has a com­pli­cat­ed life, which makes her as suit­able a can­di­date as any for a dai­ly med­i­ta­tion reg­i­men.

Or as one of her assis­tants puts it after run­ning down the day’s sched­ule — a pho­to shoot, an inter­view with Rihan­na, a bap­tism, a Celi­acs for Hillary Clin­ton din­ner — “You do have to med­i­tate twice or your brain will explode.” But just as soon as Dun­ham finds the right “om” to chant to her­self, ques­tions beset her con­scious­ness: “Does my hand feel weird?” “Are Jack and I ready for adult­hood? What if we have kids and it all goes wrong?” “Am I neglect­ing my friend­ships?” “What am I going to do after Girls ends?” “Do I spend enough time with my fam­i­ly? Is the inter­net right about me? Do all dogs secret­ly hate me?” Sure­ly we all get caught in such tan­gled webs when first we prac­tice med­i­tat­ing, but Dun­ham’s expe­ri­ence with short films empow­ers her to take the depic­tion one step fur­ther.

“Should we do, like, Thai tonight?” asks Dun­ham’s boyfriend, the musi­cian Jack Antonoff, not just inside Dun­ham’s head but from a chair on the oth­er side of the room. Oth­er med­i­ta­tion-inter­rupt­ing appari­tions fol­low, tak­ing the form of Dun­ham’s best friend (who’s found a new, also-famous best friend for her­self), an infu­ri­at­ed fel­low play­er on Girls, her mis­be­hav­ing future daugh­ter, and a cou­ple of assis­tants about to defect for jobs with Mindy Kaling. And if you think using med­i­ta­tion as a way of deal­ing with the exi­gen­cies of a show­biz career, let alone doing it at the Chateau Mar­mont, seems like a pre­pos­ter­ous­ly south­ern Cal­i­forn­ian con­cept, wait until you see the solu­tion at which Dun­ham ulti­mate­ly arrives.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Guid­ed Med­i­ta­tions From UCLA: Boost Your Aware­ness & Ease Your Stress

Med­i­ta­tion 101: A Short, Ani­mat­ed Beginner’s Guide

Moby Lets You Down­load 4 Hours of Ambi­ent Music to Help You Sleep, Med­i­tate, Do Yoga & Not Pan­ic

Dai­ly Med­i­ta­tion Boosts & Revi­tal­izes the Brain and Reduces Stress, Har­vard Study Finds

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.