People, you have to at least give me credit for TRYING…right? If a person goes out on random, weak ass branches, and makes the attempt to bring goodness and positivity their way, I think they should be given a hearty pat on the back, a high five, and an A for effort. At least.
…Even if the results don’t turn out as you had hoped.
So here’s how the latest comedic cosmic joke went down:
My lovely Columbian guru recommended for me a very “selective” meditation course for “5 weeks”, that was only offered to “very few people”, and was a place where one could “meditate for a long period and then share the process for a few minutes in final discussion”. Well since I’m on this psycho drive to find peace and calm (using psycho in the same sentence as peace and calm strikes me as ironically hilarious…but anyway…) I figured this was the world’s best place for me right now, and that I would emerge from my first class already shanti, focused, and centered.
Arriving at the center, I barely got a seat as the small conference room was OVERFLOWING with people (maybe 25-30?…enough to NOT feel like a especially selected candidate) and everyone seemed to know each other already…hmmm….isn’t this only a 5 week course?
So we begin the practice of meditating, which was the reason for our attendance. However, it was IN CHAIRS, which were plastic so every time someone moved, it had a ripple effect over the rest of the people sitting, with flatulent type sounds erupting every 15 seconds or so. That particular noise makes it hard to block things out, but I reminded myself of my first Vipassana course where one woman truly let out rips every minute or so claiming that she was so relaxed that she couldn’t control herself.
I’d been through worse. I would soldier on.
Then the instructor begins to speak quietly, reminding everyone that this was a place to replace our thoughts about the everyday with a blank slate.
Yes, this is good.
He continues: Clear you mind of all worries, stresses, and to-do lists.
Ok, I agree.
And then he takes a hard, HARD left turn. Imagine: my eyes are closed, I’m trying to ignore the squeaking of the seats, the coughing, the heavy sighs. I’m trying to be blank, be calm, be clear. And suddenly I hear the guide saying, “don’t think about the bills you can’t pay, don’t think about all the presents you have to buy for your friends and family. Stop thinking about your job, about your messy house, about your car payment. Avoid thoughts of anxiousness, worry, or stress. Don’t let your thoughts drift to all the things in your life that you feel are bringing you down and making you unhappy…”.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING????? SERIOUSLY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THIS?
I came be calm, to DEstress, to get myself chilled out and peaceful. Suddenly I’m finding myself freaking out about all the things he’s telling me to NOT think about, causing my stomach to curl into a ball of nerves, my skin to break out in a cold sweat, and ruin ANY chance I have to be freaking CALM.
Oh lord, this is going to get worse.
Meditating was not for a long period, in fact it was only about 20 minutes. So what were we to do for the next 70 minutes, you ask? GOOD QUESTION! We then proceeded to talk about the concept of mindfulness (hence the name of the class finally coming together) with our sitting.
It seemed to me that this was the time when our little crew resembled a group therapy session, versus, a mediation retreat.
There was the Rubenesque woman who raised her hand to talk about how she isn’t sure what substance she uses in place of quiet and peace, the entire time, gesturing to her…um…belly…while lamenting that she would feel SOOOO much better if she could only discover what crutch she was using to fill her space rather than mindfulness. Okkkkk….
Let’s not forget the Russian figure skater (ok, I don’t know that she was ACTUALLY a skater, but her name was Oksana, she had a very strong accent, and with legs for days, looked like the Olympic figure skater enough that I just classified her- SO SUE ME!) who asked the teacher why she finds NO peace with her 17 year old daughter, whom makes her crazy enough that she could rip out her hair. Not her 3 year twins, her 8 year old, 10 year old, her 13 or 15 year old chilren- JUST the 17 year old who makes her unhappy and angry. This went on for 12 minutes.
Now, I started to get nervous and twitchy.
This round robin of doom went on for 75 minutes, after the instructor had to forcibly end a discussion on the resentment and hostility between the EGO and the ID, finishing off with a statement the older gentleman furiously taking notes next to me during the entire session, “Mark, I’m sorry I can’t answer your question, but to be fair, you’ve been asking it for the last 5 years, so…”.
I’m sorry, 5 YEARS???? Wasn’t this supposed to be a short few sessions to get us to a place where we could mediate to find peace and solace from our busy lives, and then move on? HOW LONG had people been coming to these meetings to bitch, question, and leave without ever getting the essence of mediation and mindfulness. But really, how could they when the teacher is talking about how bad our lives are THROUGH the actual mediation.
I came home, sat in the car outside my house long enough to compose myself, because the last thing I wanted to do when I crept inside was to burst into tears from the anxiety and frustration I was feeling FROM MY MEDITATION COURSE!!!
At least my Mom got a good, hearty laugh from my experience. Maybe later, I’ll laugh about it, as well.
For now…back to square 2.479.