Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Religious tapas

If Buddhists can't teach me to relax, no one can.

Excuse me if I sound like a five year-old in this post. I don't mean any disrespect to Buddhists or anyone that can sit still for five minutes. Quite the opposite; I respect anyone that has managed to remain calm in a world where I have been over-stimulated in nearly every aspect of my life. Not that I plan to set myself on fire in demonstration, but I figured just short of that, maybe I can learn to stay calm when the vending machine is out of my favorite snack.

I attended a meditation class tonight at the Boston Buddhist Cultural Center and suffice to say I am going to need a lot of work, if not sedatives. I felt exactly like I had been sent to time-out to think about what I've done . But you're not supposed to think at all, which is the hard part. So, I know that in meditation you are supposed to push all nagging thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on your breathing. But what if you have removed all negative thoughts and replaced them with absurdly and unrealistically positive thoughts? After an hour and a half of meditating, I felt pretty good, but I also realized I had spent the entire time in Fantasyland, where I am an overnight success for something-or-other, every guy I've ever dated has just called to apologize for being an imbecile, and my pants are all inexplicably too big. I have no way of verifying this, but I don't think the Dalai Lama spent hours in silent meditation wondering what he was missing on television or wishing he was effortlessly a size two (yes, I'm aware of the irony there).

The reason there was a stack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hostess cupcakes on top of some kind of altar in front of the Buddha eludes me, but I don't know much about Buddhism. Maybe Buddha and I have more in common than I thought. I know if I were being praised as a deity, I would prefer some snacks offered to me, maybe even a piece of cake. Or maybe they are just prepared for diabetics in class.

I sat in the dark for twenty minutes listening to the soothing sounds of the subway overhead. I suddenly became aware that I am either very fidgety, or my nose just itches a lot more than everyone else's, my hair is constantly falling in my face, and more cold air seems to be blowing on me. I also became aware that my cell phone bill was overdue, that I had missed garbage day, and that the subway approaches approximately every 5.5 minutes.

We then spent some time walking in a very slow circle. It turns out that I walk so fast because if I walked any slower I'd lose balance and fall over. I didn't get kicked out of class for giggling or anything though, so I think I'll go back next week for another lesson. I'm hoping that they don't set us on fire in the second lesson, because I think that could take at least another couple of weeks. I figure it's better to have too many religions than to have too few.

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