Friday, April 30, 2010

Readjusting my expectations of the meditation center

I saw the small picture on the meditation center website of brightly colored floor cushions near a dark wood-framed rice paper window and made the assumption that the center would be bright and new.  I've been watching too many movies.  As it turns out, the center is in an older downtown building.  The meditation room has a dated acoustic tile hanging ceiling, white walls, vertical blinds, and industrial greenish blueish wall-to-wall indoor-outdoor carpeting.  There is an eclectic collection of floor cushions, chairs, and small tables along with a few pictures in inexpensive frames, a few cloth hangings, and assorted small decorative pieces.  Not a bad place at all.  It's just that it sure wasn't what I had envisioned.

I would probably have adjusted quickly had not a series of tiny incidents set off my inner child.  I had trouble finding the driveway and had to circle around three times.  That's not easy in an area of one way streets.  Then I made the mistake of of almost entering the meditation room with shoes on.  Fortunately, someone quickly pointed out my ignorance.  I know many people have the no shoes policy in their homes.  I've not been one of them.  Yes, I have occasionally passed the no shoes mandate after a particularly hard day of cleaning.  However, I was always the first one to break the new rule within hours.  

On entering the meditation room (sans shoes), I immediately saw that some of the floor cushions had been marked as reserved.  Reserved seating always annoys me for some reason unless, of course, I get to sit in it.   But, I was determined to keep the inner child in check.  I graciously moved on.  Well, maybe not exactly graciously.  I didn't try to take one of the reserved seat, though.  

You know how no one wants to sit in the front row in class?  No one wants to sit on the front floor cushions either.  All the back cushions were taken when I got there.  My choices were to sit on a cushion in the front row or on one of the chairs lined up along the back wall.  Normally this is not a problem for me.  I'm a die-hard brown-noser.  I LOVE the front row.  The problem here was that I  wasn't sure HOW one was supposed to sit on the cushions.  There were different kinds of cushions, flat round ones, boxy foam ones, cushions on cushions.  Some people were sitting cross-legged.  Some had their feet facing back. What if I sat on a cushion wrong?  Everyone would see me right there in the front row.  I had already almost broken the no shoes rules.  I opted for a chair.  By that point, I was a tired, frustrated and, yes, a bit pouty.  

The session was supposed to start at 7:30, but we waited an extra half hour in near silence for stragglers.  I am a firm believer in starting on time.  If the show is supposed to start at 7:30, I expect it to begin at 7:30.  I certainly don't want anyone waiting for me if I'm late.  By the time the main speaker began the lecture at eight o'clock in a lovely soft voice,  I was really annoyed, more than a bit pouty,  and falling asleep.  My eyes started drooping closed almost immediately.  I spent the next hour desperately trying to keep my eyes opened and preferably focused. 

Tomorrow I will be there from 8:30 until 5.  I've already paid so I've got to see this through.  I'd go in late, but I need to get there early enough to get one of those highly sought-after floor cushions in the back rows.  Do you know how hard it is to sit cross-legged on a metal chair?  My greatest fear is that I will fall asleep and keel over.  I'm not sure if Buddhists do caffeine, but I'm sneaking in some Red Bull anyway.  Wish me luck.

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