October is the month of simplifying and living in the moment. Seems like a good time to learn to meditate. Becoming a bona fide meditator remains an elusive quest. Some of you may remember my first uncomfortable foray into the world of meditation classes. My do-it-yourself approach to meditation at home was also an epic fail - I've been on the same page of Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living for over a month. Recently, I went back to the meditation classes down the street. Last class, all I needed to do was stare at a candle and then share my reflection (initially, we were told the sharing was optional, but then the entire group shared and looked expectantly at me. I'm not sure that my whole "I'm new to this and had a hard time quieting my mind" was what they were hoping for. I thought that sounded better than "I'm going to have stir-fry for dinner" which is what I was really thinking about.) Anyhow, the candle staring was bearable. In fact, I was encouraged that maybe I could learn to even like the exercise. Tonight's class, however, was another dose of radical meditation:
Excerpt from the teacher's instructions (T) and my inner dialogue (I):
T: Ok, everyone come and form a circle with your legs out in front of you.
I: Everyone else here seems to be BFF's. I don't know about this snuggle up in close stuff.
T: Alright, really, come in close. We are trying to form a circle.
I: That was definitely directed at me. Who knew that lightbulb shape wasn't close enough to circle for a pass. Better scoot in a bit.
T: Now look around. Be comfortable seeing your peers. Be comfortable being seen.
I: This is a little too up close and personal. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just stare at the candle instead of making eye contact with all these strangers.
T: Now, close your eyes...
I: Oh, thank God! Finally some relief from all that soul gazing.
T:...And grab the hands of the people sitting next to you while keeping your eyes closed.
I: Ooookay, so we are all snuggled in tight here reaching for each others hands. This could go verrrry wrong.
T: Now REALLY feel the other person's hands...
After the pseudo-hand massages, we all breathed out loudly while chanting a loud Ahhhh. I'm kind of glad I go to these things alone because I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face otherwise.
Anyhow, in spite of the craziness and the uncomfortable feelings, I felt unusually calm and relaxed walking home from meditation class. Maybe this is just the medicine I need.
Anyone out there have experience with meditation? What helped you learn to quiet your mind?