About a year ago, when my "Monkey Mind" (a Buddhist term, not mine) started getting out of control and down right mean, I decided to give meditation a go. How hard could it be, right? Focusing on your breathing, clearing your mind. Sounded lovely and doable. So, I signed up for a workshop at my yoga studio. Visions of all the upcoming bliss danced in my head. Then, I promptly decided a cute new outfit would help me concentrate. (Clearing of the mind just didn't seem possible in my stretched out sweatpants and stained Hanes tee shirt that had become the tenue pour la détente.) One pair of overpriced leggings and a comfortable top that covered any muffin-topness going on, and I was ready to tackle "Monkey Mind".
The morning of my meditation class dawned crisp and cold. Not refreshingly brisk, but eye-watering, nose-running, hopping from foot to foot cold. Looking at my fuzzy slippers, fleece sweatshirt and sweatpants with longing, I bravely slipped into my sleek new outfit of flimsy spandex. Goosebumps stacked up, but I didn't want to look out of place among the regulars who took this meditation thing seriously. I was all in. If I was a bit chilly at first, so be it. Small price to pay for my upcoming mind-cleansing.
As usually happens, the car was just becoming nice and toasty when I pulled into the parking lot of the yoga studio. Deep breath, tuck coat around spandex-covered backside, and make a beeline for the door. Once inside, I slip my coat off. To the . . . same ice-cold temperature as outside. What? Oh, boy.
A tiny, elfish woman with short-cropped hair came up to me. She was draped in what suspiciously looked like a blanket, used as a scarf. A blanket with wee Buddhas on it. No, wait, those are penguins. Penguins? She told me in the same breath that the heater was being cranky this morning, and I needed to remove my shoes and socks. I dutifully removed them and slid them into the assigned cubby-hole. Gritting my teeth against the cold floor, I made my way to an open spot and unfurled my mat. If it didn't warm up soon, focusing on my breath was going to be a snap. I could see it right in front of my face. As I looked around the room, I noticed several people dressed in sweatshirts and sweatpants, looking smug (and warm). So much for my serious spandex.
After being given instructions for the next two hours (!) of silent meditation, we begin. In spite of the cold, I manage a bit of mind over matter, and begin to relax. That is, until my stomach decides to give the call of the wild. Is ferocious stomach growling a side-effect of relaxation? My cheeks grow hot, and I squeeze my eyes shut tighter. Maybe no one can tell who the offender is. Then, I hear it. Other stomachs growling just as loudly. Joining in the call. Okay, safety in numbers. Where was I?
Once I banish the thoughts of what needs to be added to the grocery list, and keeping my stomach quiet, I do actually begin to feel calm and, dare I say, serene? At least in ten second intervals. When the final gong has been rung and the incense blown out, I do feel more peaceful. Slightly frostbitten, but peaceful.
As I'm gathering my things up to leave, I hear the heater finally rumble to life. Namaste.