My Dad was obsessed with making me join a Meditation course. He thinks I’m going crazy with studies and the temper (mainly the temper). So when he asked me one final time whether I’d like to join this Meditation course, I said yes. Why? Well, here’s why…
I do believe in the power of meditation and how it can actually make you look at life in a different, calmer viewpoint. But the problem is me.
See, I’m not that kind of person who can sit for an hour thinking about nothing but just concentrating on your inhales and exhales. I cannot train my mind to think about nothing. I will wander from doughnuts to Mussolini’s tactics during the 1900’s in under a minute.
But my dad? He will not take ‘no’ for an answer. He just asks for the sake of formality. He probably filled up my form way before asking me. If I had said no, he would taunt me on my laziness, my disheveled behavior and my temper; which ultimately results in me getting angry. And that gives him an opportunity to say “Ahah!! See? Your temper’s uncontrollable!”
So that’s the preface of how I landed up in a room full of 9 other strangers on a Wednesday evening, ready for my first meditation day, in which I was probably going to sleep instead of concentrating on my breathing.
But this particular course was actually opposite than the ones I had heard about.
When our teacher started talking I thought I had landed in the wrong place.
“It is almost impossible to not think about anything but your breathing, so I suggest you think about everything good in your life. Your breathing pattern will automatically become better.”
“When you tell your mind to not think about a particular thing, the mind will do the exact opposite. If you decide not to eat chocolates, the craving becomes more and more every time you see a chocolate. That doesn’t happen when you’re allowed to eat them.”
“The more you resist, the more it persists.”
Listening to that I wanted to worship her, as she was way cooler than the stereotypical gurus I had met. But then she said this which made me respect her more.
“If someone points at the moon, do not worship the finger. I am just a medium through which you see the greater truth.”
I have to say, being an atheist, I agreed to everything she said. I started thinking maybe this isn’t such a bad thing.
We did this amazing process where she put on a soothing music to calm us and told us to close our eyes. And then she started speaking in the most hypnotizing of tones which, surprisingly, was very calming.
“Imagine you’ve gone into your past. Imagine you’re a little kid and you’re looking at your mother the moment you were born. You cannot speak, but you know that this is the most beautiful face you will ever see in your life. Now recall growing up. You’re a naughty kid; you’re running around, playing with your friends…”
She did this until we reached 80 years in our imagination. She brought some ups and downs in our imagination and made us go through some beautiful stepping stones of our lives. But she left most of the imagination part on us.
“Now imagine you’re 80 and have lived a happy complete life. You have watched your career taking heights, you have watched your children growing up, and you have played with your grandchildren and all this while your spouse was always with you. Imagine a nice, small house. Everyone from your family has gathered for your 80th birthday. You look around and are pleased with your complete life, even if there were many ups and downs… Now slowly take it all in and open your eyes feeling content.”
I was very content with the way I had imagined my 80 complete years. I had experienced 80 years of my life in an hour, even though I’m still 20. The effect of this particular process was so deep with me that I was ready to let go and die at that very moment imagining living a full life. I had tears realizing my imagination is way better than what my actual life will turn out to be. (It’s gonna be train wreckoslavakia, I betcha!)
Oh, the things imagination can do.
You know what the best part of your mind is? Imagination! You can close your eyes in the dullest, darkest of places and imagine being on a hillside with a great view and fresh air. You can imagine skydiving and falling; you can see the view of the earth with tiny farms and feel high speed winds even when you’re only sitting in front of a table fan. The thrill actually makes you get goose bumps. Tell me you’ve experienced something like this.
And you know what the worst part of our mind is? Give a big round of applause to… Imagination again! Ever felt you were cramped up in a small place even if you had the whole 2m space around you free? Ever felt the urge to scream because you imagined your mouth taped and couldn’t open it? Even if you haven’t imagined all this (which clearly states I’m crazy to experience it), you have definitely imagined ghosts with weird descriptions following you in a dark room.
Don’t tell me you haven’t looked behind in the bathroom during your pee session after watching a horror movie! The feeling that someone might suddenly grab your hand as you’re reaching for the flush.
Yeah, so the point being… Imagination is a sweet little bitch!
I also learned that only because my Meditation teacher was teaching us to imagine better things and be healthy through exercises doesn’t mean she believes every ‘Guru’ who takes up the rudraksh and claims to talk to God through his personal network (as in the movie PK), is fairly devoted by good intentions.
With the network service providers struggling hard to increase the data charges and also talk-time charges (I don’t know who’s responsible but… TRAI!!), and some companies already slashing roaming rates, won’t name them. *cough* Idea! *cough*, the gurus are going to get a huge phone bill irrespective of whether they dial the wrong number or not. Long distance can be a pain in the ass-ana.
The teacher continued, “I believe in God; I just don’t trust anybody who works for him. God is a comedian playing to an audience who is afraid to laugh; and these ‘Guru’s take advantage of that. And then they defend themselves saying:
“Why is that when we talk to God, we’re praying. But when we claim to say that God talks to us, we’re suddenly schizophrenic?”
I don’t have anything to comment on whether they are schizophrenic or plain hoaxes. I don’t believe God exists and in that context, I’m not allowed to say anything.
Well, the meditation course was finally coming to an end. I have so many eye-opening stories to type. But I’ve specifically mentioned in my “About” that I’m a lazy ass. So here’s the last one.
On the last day of the course, our teacher made us stand up with our eyes closed and she put on some rock-n-roll, 90’s music. And she told us to dance like no one’s watching. (Because literally, no one was watching. Eyes closed, remember?)
At first I felt the footsteps of others in just a shy rhythm, but gradually I could feel the madness in that room increasing. Everyone was panting and jumping and banging into each other. I did not leave that chance. I danced like a fucking maniac. I’d be embarrassed to watch myself. But who cared? That was the whole point…
We do most things in our life worrying about what others would think if we showed them how we truly want to behave, or say, or act. That one insane dancing session had a deep meaning hidden in it. And when the teacher told us to stop, I could feel some people still dancing while others were catching their breath.
We were all proud of ourselves for that crazy, (So you think you can dance?) session. We felt like we could rule the world! (With our dancing)
Eyes still closed, panting breaths, hair messed up, longing for the touch of the ground on our butts, we started taking in the little oxygen left in the room. We were extremely tired. And then the teacher told us to sit exactly where we were.
Following her voice I tried to sit facing her direction. When we all opened our eyes, I was surprised to see half the people facing all possible directions and sitting in abstract parts of the room. Two of them had found corners as their solace. Facing the opposite direction. We laughed a hearty laugh.
That was a beautiful ending to our 5 day course. She did not try to force religious beliefs on us. Open to science but also intellectual to who we exactly were. And I probably wouldn’t do the course again. But I’m glad I put my body through the tyrannous exercise and my mind through the beautiful thought processes.
(By the way, still longing for my backbone to work)
And then it hit me…
The whole course was fucking bullshit!
Meditation is not about sitting in a place and contemplating your whole life, your choices, your bad times, your good times, your arch nemesis, or your friends. Meditation can be anything which helps you calm down. It can be more than one thing for a person.
Got a problem? Throw that Yoga mat away and dance instead. Too exhausted to dance? Cook something and divert your mind from the stress. Take a long bath and sing in the most horrible of voices. Scream in open spaces, read, write, sleep, cycle, go hiking; hell, even try swimming on the ground.
Do anything which is completely crazy and is able to crack you up in laughter, or something which is so engrossing that you forget why your life is a mess.
Boyfriend issues? Got a crazy boss? Got a crazy wife? Your dog isn’t pooping properly? Forget the stresses in one go, by doing something which will definitely distract you from the amount of stool your dog gives.
At the end of the course, our teacher asked everyone what we learned from this whole course, mainly asking for a deeper meaning to all that we had done. And I answered what I thought about meditation being anything which calms us.
Well, you can guess she didn’t exactly applaud for my answer. Just gave a smug and said,
“That’s a first. Dancing and singing will definitely calm you down; but I will surely keep checking up on you through your Dad whether you’re doing the meditation every morning.”
And that’s the story of why I get up an hour earlier every morning, spread a yoga mat calmly and snore away while sitting erect.
And now when I stress out, I close my door and put in some weird dance moves hoping to become the next dance sensation in the world. In addition, my breathing has improved tremendously. I’m swallowing up all the good air at my home.
Some epic dialogues from our cool Mediation teacher and also some eye opening jokes:
This fellow was climbing a tree when suddenly he slipped. He grabbed a branch and was hanging there. After an hour or so, he felt exhausted. He looked up to the heavens and cried out: “God, please help me!”
Suddenly the clouds parted and a deep voice resounded, “Let go!”
The guy paused and looked up at heaven once more, and said: “Anyone else up there with better advice?”
“Some people talk about finding God, as if He or She is lost.”
(The fact that she added “She” made me respect her more. Not that I suddenly believe in a female God)
“A small boy is given a choice to choose between a truck full of snacks, chocolates; and peace of mind. What do you think will he choose?”
Everyone answered snacks and chocolates.
“And what will you grown-ups choose?”
“Peace of mind” Unanimous shout.
“Why is that?”
No one knew the answer to that. We just said peace of mind because we were grown-ups and we were supposed to choose something spiritual. (By the way, I was the only one who yelled snacks)
And then she opened her mouth and spit straight wisdom, “Because we know how it is to not have peace of mind.”
“The value of a particular thing will increase only when its opposite is offered to us. We won’t know the value of shade unless we experience scorching heat. Happiness will not make us feel privileged if we have never experienced sadness. If we say that a particular person is very tall, it will make absolutely no sense if we do not have a shorter person to compare him with.
“And most importantly, opposites are actually complementary to each other. Without one, you will not be able to experience the other.”