The benefits of meditation being well known, and we being in India, what better opportunity to partake? So we hopped on our scooters and after getting a little lost, arrived at the guesthouse where a session was being held from 9 to 12, novices welcome, under the guidance of a Frenchman, Pierre. I thought Pierre would give us a brief tutorial, Meditation for Dummies sort of thing, but he said there was nothing to know. He placed a flower on the floor and about a dozen of us arranged ourselves on small cushions in a circle, cross legged.
Ten minutes in, Mrs. B. had a coughing fit, which she bravely tried to control, but it got the better of her and she left. 14 minutes in, I developed pins and needles. Then my legs went completely numb. Afraid they might drop off altogether, I stretched them out. This was actually OK – you’re allowed to prevent your legs dropping off. In fact, at one point or another, most of the other participants did the same, even Pierre. I know this because I was peeking out from the corner of my eye. Peeking isn’t so good, though, nor is wondering what the others are up to, so I went back to looking at the flower.
23 minutes in, I took a peek at my watch. I should have taken it off before we started. Pierre said we’d have a break at ten. 37 minutes to go. It would be good not to peek at my watch between now and then. It would be good not to think all the time, “I mustn’t peek at my watch.” I stopped thinking about my watch and thought instead about my back. I was slumping. It would actually be quite nice to lie down. I sat up straight. My mind, for a while, was empty of thought. Then it filled up again, not with thought but a song. Specifically, for some reason, a really old hit by the Hollies. I can’t make it if you leave me, I’m sorry Suza-a-anne, believe me… I swatted the song away but it kept coming back like a Top of the Pops mosquito buzzing around in my brain. It could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been Boney M. After about 15 encores the Hollies finally accepted to leave the stage and my mind went blank again. The flower was very pretty.
“Ten o’ clock,” said Pierre. “Time for a break.” I went outside, where Mrs. B. was sitting next to a fountain. She looked very peaceful. “It’s lovely out here,” she said. I thanked Pierre and we got on our scooters and returned to the tumult that was India.