Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meditation- In lighter vein about ' The concentration camp'

If you turned 40years and do not know how to meditate yet,you are doomed.It is fashionable to be able to meditate anytime, anywhere.People will come up to you to tut-tut you in your face if you reveal the disability.I have faced looks of disbelief even at international conferences.If you are desi and you don't know it ,well ,it is strange! Not being religious is still ok but not being able to meditate.... is weird.
Cookie used to depend on her senior's notes all through her schooling years and the senior's mom took advantage of this dependence and conned me into attending this one day, introductory meditation course at her home .What I believed was concern for my well being ,was actually a clever ,well thought of marketing ploy that she was trained in.It was a roomful of kurta clad people closely packed in a small living room. Head of the ceremony glanced once in a while at every entrant as they took their seats, not forgetting to bow down in respect before they did so.I sat close to the exit after making sure ,a) the host had seen me enter,b)my belongings, including the borrowed notes were within reach,c) I was not in direct line of vision with respect to guruji.All this, just in case..you know ..what I mean! 
   Without much ado,it started.Sit in sukhaasan ,close your eyes and relax.., a voice said.I glanced around,all eyes were closed so I closed mine and gave up resisting .Might as well give this my best shot .Who knows ,this could be it..my struggle to be able to meditate might be over ,finally.After a loonnng deafening silence,the voice (sing-song is a must ) urged us to rela.....kkk...sss..concentrate on each body part and rela..kkk...sss.This is where I always get stuck.How do people do both ,concentrate and relax at the same time??All my life I have been taught to either CONCENTRATE or RELAX. Sorry dad,you were wrong.I opened one eye to spot any sign of similar problem faced by anyone around.None!All eyes were closed ,all looked in sync.I closed my eyes again.I had lost precious time by then and the class had already relaxed their ankles after their toes and feet .Let me try and relax my ankle and go up with the class ,may be my feet will follow I hoped .The more I concentrated on each body part ,more I became aware of hitherto unknown aches and pains.Toes and feet groaned under the weight of my body or may be they felt left out and hence protested.By the time the class relaxed their forehead I gave up and waited for the next step.
  If relaxation was difficult,breathing must be a breeze ..after all that's what you do to live and you do not even know about it.Well,next fifteen minutes were a revelation.I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO BREATHE..and I WAS ALIVE!!. Concentrate where your breath is now,can you feel it in your toe..feel it..now it is in your knee..WTH  !I could not feel it beyond  my belly..that's it ,last stop.. and then it came back  up and outa my mouth.OMG, now they are telling me my breath is as shallow..! If nothing else,I got to learn this.I tried harder this time,inhale deeeeply ,fill your lungs ,hold and then what?I missed !!Determined not to make a mistake,I held my breath till my face turned red and then heard that they had progressed to abdominal breathing by then.So what do I do now..hold it ,leave it ,what?! Survival instinct took over from there and I..survived by breathing the way I knew . 
  It was close to an hour by now and my lower extremities were experiencing pins and needles .My body witth closed eyes was swaying left and right shifting weight to ease the discomfort but was  mistaken for a trance by many present as my host confirmed later.Afterwards ,it just did not matter as I did not feel my limbs by the time we moved to Post meditation Praanayaam .
 If you feel that was the end of day one,experience one..,you are in for a big surprise much as I was when a voice asked me to come forward and take a seat next to Guruji who had a serene smile and was looking at me approvingly.I was supposed to share my experience with the gathering.All eyes on me I felt like a kid on first day to school.Dry mouth (lack of oxygen due to breathholding) ,panic,fixed feet syndrome(what you can not feel you can not move,as simple as that), strong urge to turn around and run and a stronger urge to scream for mother ,all at once were felt at that time by me.My age (curse that) prohibited me from doing anything childish. I slid forward to the coveted spot without getting up and sized up the gathering.I wanted a glass of water but since no one else felt the need , I wet my lips and swallowed hard.
 I said what I felt in one sentence ,dry mouth,short of breath,numbness in my body and the realization that I did not know I could breathe .Applause!! and then more approving looks followed.:D.That was when my host whispered in my ears that my gentle swaying did not go unnoticed and that everyone was impressed and also that I was blessed. Blessings be upon her,if only she knew the secret to my swaying.
   Meanwhile, lady sitting next to me at the course offered to drop me home and I gladly accepted.She told me she had calmed down a great deal and was a regular at the class.As she said that a car with blaring music zipped by too close for comfort and our lady at the wheel stood hard on the brakes and hurled choicest  abuses aimed at no one in particular and in the next breath continued with the benefits of meditation.Anger management indeed! Vent it out seemed more like it ;-) .
  Readers may note that my tryst with meditation is my experience only,rather lack of it and by no means a generalization of any sort.It just means that I lack the skills and concentration levels required to meditate successfully .May be I am too entangled in Maya ,may be its too early for me,may be I need to be more serious in life ,I don't know...No use fretting though,I am sure I'll know when the time is right.

Till then.. no more meditation,no more Concentration Camps for enhancing concentration..I will just do what I know best,RELAX!! :p


  1. What a delightful read Sharmila, absolutely loved it.

    It's so much easier to get stressed and annoyingly tough to relax. In my 40's and I still can't get myself to meditate.

    Attention challenged maybe but definitely honest enough to admit it:))

  2. Loved reading this.
    My experience exactly.

    I am afflicted by too many worries, problems, memories of past incidents, plans for the future etc to really be able to meditate, if by meditation, one means keeping the mind blank.

    Yes, I have sometimes succeeded in keeping my mind blank, but that was always when there was no conscious attempt at "meditation".

    Praanayam is easier, and I have enjoyed and benefited from it, not meditation.


  3. @ GV
    Feels nice to know that I am not alone:)I was given to understand that I have a handicap in that regard :p



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