Sunday, July 08, 2007

I Hate Sitting

At this workshop/retreat, twice a day, at 7:00 AM and 5:30 PM, for essentially an hour, we sit in a darkened room, cross-legged on round cushions, with our eyes closed, not talking, doing nothing.

To say that it sucks is, for me, an understatement.

In general, I hate sitting down for long periods of time and I can’t stand doing nothing; other than that, it drives me crazy not to have a chair back to lean against and I’m no fan of having to be so quiet that it’s uncool even to clear your throat.

So certainly, this must be very good for me, but just as certainly, this isn’t a practice I will keep up when I return to normal life.

We get six minutes an hour of “walking meditation,” where you slowly step, breath by breath, a move I’m familiar with when arriving home late at night, although in this case, I’m not carrying my shoes.

No doubt meditating in this way is a fast track to liberation and enlightenment, so I’m either going to get there much more slowly or not at all.

Sitting there, I try to just let my thoughts bubble up and pass away, but mostly I count breaths trying to distract myself until the time is up.

Sometimes, feeling very subversive, I open my eyes and look around.

Everyone takes it very seriously; I haven’t caught anybody else cheating like me—another illustration of my relatively flawed character.

I appreciate that this is a form of self-examination that—unlike yoga—is accessible to people at any age and in nearly any physical condition…but then, how is a person supposed to show off?

At least if we sat around with our eyes open we cold check each other out and envy those who were the most still. This way, I’ve got nothing to occupy myself with except myself, and that’s hard enough to stand—or sit—for two seconds a day, much less two hours.


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