After days of being in a funk, I decided to try and clear my head out one Sunday by joining my husband at the Buddhist center. I used to go with him years ago, before we had our son, and I always enjoyed the pretty statues and all the flowers everywhere.
Hubby continued going to the center after C. was born, and when C. was a toddler, I started going to the local Unitarian Fellowship because they had
free babysitting religious education classes. Now that C. was old enough to go to the kids class at the Buddhist center, I figured maybe I would give it a another go.
So, we arrived at the Buddhist center with all the pretty statues surrounded by candy and flowers.
I sat on the uncomfortable metal folding chair with my kissy-patterned socked feet curled on the chair in front of me.
I waited for the enlightenment to begin.
Finally… a quiet hush filled the room, and everyone stood with their hands in prayer as an older woman with a gorgeous scarf entered the room. She prostrated in front of a large Buddha statue, and then silently sat down before us on a small, elevated stage. With a peacefully calm face and library-quiet voice, she smiled at us and told us we are all going to die (She wasn’t threatening us or anything – I didn’t feel my life was in immediate danger – but apparently in Buddhism it is necessary to always be prepared for death. I didn’t even have my lipgloss on me that day. Needless to say – I did not feel prepared for death. )
She discussed the importance of always being aware of death (good thing I’m an anxious wreck – lipgloss not withstanding – turns out I AM a good Buddhist) and we should meditate on compassion and finding the right path that will lead us to a better rebirth.
Because we. Are. All. Going. To. Die.
And let’s not forget that.
So, as I sat there wondering where she got her gorgeous scarf and questioning if maybe I COULD work at Lululemon and still make enough money to contribute to the household if I did it full time and honestly, why does any of this even matter if I’m going to die anyway, she explained that we have to do a better job while we are here because… rebirth.
I could be reborn as a cockroach if I’m not doing this right.
And then this blissfully peaceful looking lady explained that even the most die-hard Buddhist practitioners have difficulty generating compassion for roaches. But we all need to because they are reborn creatures just like us.
And, then it was time for our meditation everyone.
“Find a comfortable position…” (On a metal folding chair… OK) “and close your eyes…”
I shifted in the chair, wondering for the millionth time in my life why my ass bones always decided to penetrate the billions of layers of fat cushioning it whenever I tried to sit comfortably and meditate.
Every. Friggen. time.
But I had to stop thinking about my ass because it was time to think about dying so I had to close my eyes and focus on my breath and forget about my ass bones and…
Just allow the thoughts to come and not attach any energy to them.
Simply allow them to drift and notice them disappearing….
Thrown under the bus…
Pit of despair….
My ass is killing me in this chair…
Where did she get that scarf….
How much longer…
Next time I’m choosing the cushion on the floor…
And… That was about ten minutes.
I probably earned some good “rebirth” points.
I opened my eyes and noticed everyone still sitting motionless and breathing deeply. Killing this meditation thing while I was just shifting and squirming and thinking about cockroaches. They were going to have the BEST rebirths ever.
But then finally the meditation was over and the blissful teacher told us to slowly become aware of our surroundings…
(Note to self- become “aware”slower next time).
I noticed a young woman sitting a few seats down from me, smiling brightly and pointing down at my feet. My kissy-patterned socks.
“I LOVE your socks!” She mouthed with a thumb up
Hubby next to me caught the interaction and rolled his eyes and shook his head as I smiled back and wiggled my toes proudly, beaming.
Hey – if I was going to be in this Pit of Despair, I was going to need to at least have some cute accessories. No one likes a frumpy sad sack. Life was too short to wear boring socks.
Not the lesson hubby was hoping for I’m sure, but dharma must begin somewhere. In my next life I could be a cockroach eating rat shit. But until that happened, I needed to get out of this Pit of Despair and fight.
Wesley, after all, was reborn and he did OK.