Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Zen or Not to Zen!?!

Are you beaming with light in this very moment? Are you so full of joy you wish you could just shit a rainbow? If so, please stop reading and feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for stopping by. 
If you aren't dancing the dance of 10,000 happy Buddhas then please stay awhile and share in the experience of trying to reach NIRVANA! 
And also know that you are apart of a vast majority of the population living one day at a time and seldom finding a single second in the day to quiet your mind or to remember that you simply need to breath!

My day starts with the alarm clock. A single beep. Each beep ever increasing and sounding more rapidly until it reaches a constant hum/pinging sound. Snooze button, Morning. The first thought. Time for work. The second. Take the dog out. Hmm, nice day. I'm standing on the porch in my underwear. Hmm, nice day. Flowers look good. I'm scratching my ass in my underwear on the porch. Hmm, nice day. Good thing no neighbors are out. Shit, the neighbors just sitting in her car. Did she see me? Oh well, hmm, nice day! What should I wear? Need to shave. Need shaving cream from the store. When can I go to store? I have to work late. Big event tonight. Did I staff enough servers? Hmm, nice day. The thoughts drift from one to the next without taking a breath. Oh yeah, the next thought. Breath. Take a nice deep breath and don't get overwhelmed. The day will come and go and I will do what I can. Something may not get done but tomorrow is another day. Another day that starts with the alarm. And the mind continues.
In the rare event that you can actually devote time to quieting your mind. And you can do it successfully. My question is this... how do you get there? How and what is peace to you?
Last night J-bird and I were discussing how someones idea of finding peace can be so different for someone else. And no offense honey, but your version of peace is messed up perfect for you! My boyfriend who is only 22 wise beyond his years, would rather be shopping in New York, cocktail in hand, while listening to the latest from Lady Gaga or Jay-Z. While I am a waterfalls, Enya, incense, and meditating kind of guy.
Now, I have to give "J" some credit here. Last night, I tricked convinced him to come to a mediation group with me. I purposefully forgot to mention that we would be sitting in one spot, motionless for a half hour. I have never, in my entire relationship with "J", witnessed him in stillness for more than 5 seconds. Not even in his sleep. He sleeps with one leg bent straight up which continues to fall every so often knocking and falling on me through the night. Lovely, just lovely!

Anyhow, we made it to the Zen Center. Or as I like to call it "the ZENTER". I explained to "J" that there may be some chanting and some bowing. There would be incense and shrines and statues. Chiming and dining of bells and gongs. Really I was trying to get him psyched up for this new experience. But even after all the psyching I knew that honestly there was going to be a whole lot of nothing. Just quiet. And I wasn't sure if "J" was going to survive.I also told him that he could be as quiet or participatory in as much or as little as he wanted. Still giving him the sense that there would be options in this little exercise. Pssht, options! Schmoptions! We were going to sit and do nothing. And I knew that "J" was going to have to just sit through it all. Motionless. And quiet! BWAH HA HA HA!

We entered the building and immediately I could sense the stillness and peace that my soul had so longed for. It had been well over a year since my last meditation in this Zen Center. Through the silence we heard the creaking of floorboards over head. And slowly we saw the light feet of a Buddhist monk gracefully transcend the old wood staircase to the lobby where we were waiting. With arms in prayer fashion he approached us with a smile. I told him we were here to Meditate. He asked if it was our first time. "Oh not me! I'm pretty much a guru master. But this is his first time, he's never done anything like this before." I nudged "J" forward towards the little monk. Like the way a mother has to push her 2-year-old up to sit on Santa's lap. Only "J" wasn't kicking and screaming...... not yet at least! BWAH HA HA HA HA!

The cute little monk explained the procession and sitting technique and told "j" and I to head up the stairs when we were ready. He then floated back up the stairs in silence. So "J" and I practiced the sitting technique and shared a few giggles before we ascended the stairs towards enlightenment! We founds two mats and two cushions, also known as Zafu cushions. See how Buddha-ism-ist-ish-er I am! A freakin' guru Buddha master!

There were only 2 other monks in the room. So quiet. So peaceful. Ahhhhhh! This is exactly what I needed! The meditation began and I was surprised that I found focus and stillness so quickly. Blackness and breath. The only two things on my mind. Only a few times my mind began to drift and think about work or friends. But it was the focus on my breath that brought me back. Time seem to pass quickly and easily. My posture held. And I drifted into a state of bliss. My body was completely happy and content. And then…… the pain set in. After sitting in one position for 20 minutes, my left leg was starting to loose sensation. I hate to use the expression that my leg was “falling asleep”. Because this was no slumber. It was more like a nightmare. The pain was intense and it brought me from Nirvana to hell in a matter of seconds.
I opened my eyes, the room was still in silence. How could this be when my leg was about ready to fall off! How could everyone just sit there. I glanced over to see how "J" was managing. To my surprise, he was actually doing very well. He was adjusting and fidgeting a bit. But his face wasn't red or wincing in pain. I convinced myself to remain still. I am a pro-meditation-er for hell's sake! I can do this! I remained still and tried re-centering myself. I pushed through the last 10 minutes. The last 5 minutes of which weren't bad at all considering I had completely lost all sensation in my left leg altogether.
The mini-monk banged his bowl three times and everyone started coming back to their senses. I immediately grabbed my dead leg and lifted it to straighten it out. No movement in the toes. No feeling from the ankle to the knee. But at least I could move the rest of my body now and try circulating the blood.

The meditation group had all stood up. With hands and arms in prayer position. Mini monk had picked up two more sticks and began clanking them together. WE WEREN'T DONE!!!! The group was looking at me and "J", waiting for us to stand in prayer with them. There was no way I could stand. So I remained seated and smiled. "J" following my lead was also still seated. The banging of sticks stopped and Mini-Monk walked directly over to me and "J". Very pleasantly he motioned for us to stand up. It was the moment of truth. Will my cold blue piece of flesh and bone, formally known as my leg, be ready and able to support me. I rolled to one butt cheek and placed both hands on the floor and lifted. Very carefully I balanced on my right leg, not allowing the left leg, so full of pins and needles, not to touch anything. Mini-monk smiled in approval at my inability ability to stand. I mean come on folks. He knew exactly what I was going through. In the 500 years of his practicing seated mediation he has never had or witnessed a dead leg? It was then, when Mini-monk uttered the next few words that I knew he was pure evil! He ever so peacefully looked into my eyes, with the sweetest of smiles and said, "Now we do walking mediation." Any ounce of peace and serenity had been drained, just like the blood out of my leg. "Walking meditation?" I muttered. "Walking? Like do-do-do", as I motioned with my fingers. "Yes. Please follow..." I looked at "J", he seemed pleased as punch and up for anything. I on the other hand was in excruciating agony. "oh,, no. I think we will just go now if that is okay?" Mini monk, so at peace with everything, he didn't care if we stayed or went. "Thank you, and he motioned us to walk down the stairs. "Just f@*#ing cut my leg off here why don't you!" I shouted. Well, in my mind I shouted it. Instead, I was quiet and smiled back. I looked at "J" and gestured for him to take the lead and head over to the stairs. Look at "J" go, walking so effortlessly. Pffffth! I took a single step. A quick step. The needles quickly turned to swords and shot up through my leg. Deep breaths! Another quick step...and another... like walking slowly across hot coals. I soon reached the stairs. By that time Mini Monk had started clanking his sticks again. The walking mediation had begun. And it was as quietly performed as the sitting mediation. All that was heard was the hobbling and then thudding of my dead leg as it hit each stair. "J" was already outside the Zenter waiting before I was even half way down the stairs. I reached the bottom and scooted across the floor to my shoes. Oh god! Putting on shoes! I bared down one last time and slipped the shoe over my foot. OH DEAR GOD AND THE LOVE OF BUDDHA! I exited the building, beads of sweat running down my face. Completely out of breath I asked "J", "So..... (pant, pant, pant)... how was it?" "J's" reply....."ehh, it was alright, kinda boring, but I'd do it again. I guess it's better than sitting around and doing nothing!".

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry but I fequent this blog and did I miss some letter's or did you get tired of the Alphabet and skip to the end?

    I have a hard time sitting still so following a prayer ritual like some do to become enlightened, would be torcher for someone like me. But good job for trying it.