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Throughout my adult lifetime, myriad teachers, therapists and friends have agreed upon the same prescription for me: Explore the contemplative disciplines! Learn to meditate. Practice silence. Look within. Find a yoga class. Namaste! OHMMMMMMMmm …
And, for decades, my response has been the same: “That feels right. I think contemplative disciplines would be good for me.”
And then I proceed not to undertake them.
Until last Sunday. Merely on the whim of a friend’s suggestion timed neatly on a Sunday afternoon devoid of Green Bay Packer football, I went to a meditation class. Like, whatever.
A few weeks earlier, I tried my hand at raku pottery, too. Whimsically random appears to suit me at midlife.
Meditation, for this western civilization wayfarer, is the perfect marriage of ridiculously simple and ridiculously difficult. Simple? Yes. Sit there. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deliberately, and notice that you’re breathing. Voila! You’re meditating!
And, oh yeah, don’t think anything.
That’s the hard part. The impossible part. Don’t think. Don’t feel. Clear your mind. Empty yourself. Blank slate.
The instructor rings the bell, sending me and my classmates into 30 minutes of meditation.
My eyes are closed. My feet are on the ground. My hands in my lap. Spine straight. I clear my mind. I’m breathing, slowly and deliberately. I’m noticing that I’m breathing. I imagine I can see into my lungs, see my diaphragm like the bellows of a church organ, pumping up and down even as my grandmother’s feet would push the pedals of her pump organ as she played. I remember how she — (MORE)