Two more days and I will chalk in a full week of walking! I feel good about it especially since we have had very cold days since I made this promise to extricate myself from the arms of my recliner . What a change I see in my energy level and in such a short period of time! I can see I will be running the Telly Ten this summer .
Considering I am trying to be more active, it is more than a little ironic that this week should bring to me a new experience that involved absolutely no expenditure of physical energy. A couple of weeks ago it was my first massage. This time I was invited to accompany my friend to a meditation class. Since I am game for most novel experiences I agreed to give it a try.
My friend had a groupon certificate for dinner at the Casbah and since her husband was unavailable she offered to share it with me. We would eat and then meditate. We parked her car a half kilometer away from the restaurant. It was a lovely evening, though cool, so the little walk was pleasant. We did realize that after our meal there would be a walk of the same distance to the meditation class. That was no problem. It would aid our digestion.
The restaurant was lovely and we were served by a bubbly young Bulgarian beauty who spoke perfect English and catered to our every need. The chicken in cream sauce , vegetables of green pepper, eggplant, asparagus , and miniature potatoes appealed to our eyes and our palates. We were so full that we passed on the dessert and had coffee to cap off the meal.
Then , stomachs full we headed down Duckworth St. towards the Lotus Centre. This is the place where one can do Yoga or meditation. What I hadn’t counted on was the steep uphill trek. Anyone who has walked downtown is aware of the hills and if you drive a standard you would be particularly knowledgeable about which streets challenge you to slide backwards. This was one of those hills. And the two of us being fairly substantial in girth had all we could do to keep from rolling arse over kettle towards the harbour. Eventually after a great deal of huffing and puffing we arrived red faced and sweating at the door which would lead to the centre of ourselves and the world of meditation.
The house was a very old row house that is typical of the downtown area. There was no evidence of any modern intervention in the rooms that I could see. It was obvious that it was a dwelling as well as a studio because there was a kitchen area we passed on our way up the one lane stairwell and a couple of doors opened onto bedrooms. We were led to a carpeted room which had cushions around all the walls. The cushions were large and we each sat on one as we waited for the class to begin. In the centre of the floor stood a pitcher of water and some glasses . We poured some and had a few sips of the warm liquid. Warm water is supposed to be good for some reason that I do not know. I have learned that anything I considered normal in my life as far as food, drink and thinking goes is absolutely abnormal and bizarre in the world of Yoga and meditation.
But I am an open minded person so warm water is fine with me. I drank it in Korea along with cold coffee long before Ice caps were introduced at Tim Horton’s. The leader came in the room. Oh, how thin she was! She shouldn’t be allowed out around the door with that slim body. Oops! Sorry! A little envy there. In a soft slow voice she urged us to take our places and to get comfortable. We were about to find our “presence”. She lit a candle in the centre of the room, the water was gone at this point. All other lights were off. One solitary candle. Ten people. We were about to feel the energy of the others there with us. So she said.
A tap on the singing bowl with a mallet and we sat spines erect, legs crossed, eyes closed as she lulled us with her words into a state of relaxation. Five minutes of listening to her soft slow voice, another tap on the singing bowl and there was silence. For forty five minutes we sat, not a word, not even the sound of a car outside to distract us. Forty five minutes I sat cross legged, with ten other people sending out their energy around me and I didn’t find my “presence”. I know I was present but my presence was shooting out everywhere in the room at a time when I was supposed to find it deep inside.
I closed my eyes. Got bored with that. Opened them slightly. Gazed at the candle through slitty eyes . That was interesting. I could see the light that danced all around the flame, you know, those long flickering rays that you can only see when you stare at the flame for a long time, rays that extend way out the more squinty you keep your eyes. A couple of minutes doing that and I thought it might be a good idea to see if there was any light emanating from any of my companions. With all the talk of auras these days this was the perfect opportunity to investigate this theory. At least one person in the room should have an aura plainly visible even to my untrained eye. I stared and stared and stared. My slitty eyes glided from one person to another. No auras. I wondered if all this focused attention would make even one spirit acknowledge my presence lurking near. No luck there either.
How many minutes did I have left I wondered. There was no way to know; my watch was broken and it was too dark to see anyway.
Of course there is nothing like trying to relax and meditate that will bring to mind the most unrelaxing thoughts. Here in the semidarkness, absolute quiet and stillness what should pop into my head? My cellphone! Did I turn it off? Apparently my friend had the same thought. Telepathy , no doubt. She was staring at me. I could see her hand crawl towards her bag. She motioned to me with the telephone hand position what she was looking for. Well that curdled the milk of meditation for the next thirty minutes. I could imagine the scene if both our phones started ringing. So I spent the rest of the period willing them to stay silent.
And they did. Again my thought must have silenced any calls for the phone did not ring once. Proof positive of the power of the human mind. No matter that it rings only once a blue moon anyway.
In the distance I heard the sound of a clock , it seemed. I thought it must be the end of a half hour. The chime sounded a few times. Then I realized what I was hearing was the singing bowl. The meditation was over.
I had spent forty five minutes and a number of dollars to do what I had been doing in my recliner for the past two months. Next week I will light my own candle in the centre of the room, drink a liter of warm water and tap on my crystal glass as I search for my “presence”.