Monday, 4 July 2011
People I know who know about meditation have often said to me:
"Oh you should try meditation, it helps calm the mind and you think too much about your life."
And I have thought:
'Yes, I should try meditation, I need to calm my mind, I think too much about my life.'
So I've been thinking about doing meditation for about......15 years. And finally, I googled 'mediation class' and found one: up the road, at my local Buddhist centre. Perfect. As they say, when the pupil is ready......
So it was that I turned up one sunny evening; mindful, eager and inappropriately dressed. Us newcomers were directed to a large room, smelling sweetly of incense, and instructed in low tones to sit 'comfortably' on piles of cushions, under the gaze of a large, golden Buddha. I arranged my cushions and bent my legs about me, closed my eyes, listened to the words of my teacher and began the practice.
I tried hard to 'observe the breath'......it's harder than it sounds.....but, I thought, this is great, I'm meditating. A minute and a half later my right foot had developed pins and needles so I shifted my weight minutely and realised my left foot was totally numb. I twisted slightly and the bracelets on my left arm jangled noisily so I tried to muffle the sound with my right hand but that alerted me to the pain in my right shoulder, which was moving into my neck. By now I had lost all feeling below the waist and could pinch my calf quite hard, to no affect. The tight denim of my skinny jeans had cut off all circulation in my legs. Completely. I couldn't move at all. I tried to 'observe' the pain and focus on my breathing but I was sort of hyperventilating and wondering if I was giving myself deep vein thrombosis.
Eventually, the gong chimed and we were back in the room. I flopped sideways off my cushions, both legs now paralysed, and tried desperately to massage life back into them, willing my toes to wiggle, while all about me were happily springing up, eager to chat about their experience over the mint and chamomile tea. Still, for 20 minutes I hadn't thought about the rest of my life.
As the Buddhists say;
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment: chop wood carry water.......
Top tip: Always wear lose fitting clothing when meditating.....