I'm trying to be a good Buddhist. I really am.
Unfortunately, overactive imaginations and meditation are not a great combination.
Here's what happened:
I was sitting in the meditation hall (And by Meditation hall, of course, I mean T's basement) with my fellow Buddhists. As is standard in this particular tradition, we were all meditating facing the walls of the room.
We were meditating for thirty-five minutes. For a relative beginner like me, it often feels like a long time(*) between the gongs that start and end meditation.
My mind does not like to sit still. It wants me to get up and do stuff. And yesterday it enlisted an ally in its neverending quest to distract me--my own imagination.
DAN (not out loud): Notice the rhythm of the in- and out-breaths as I serenely contemplate...
DAN'S MIND: Hey. Hey
DAN: Shush. I'm kicking serious egoic ass over here.
DAN'S MIND: Yeah, but you know what would be freaky?
DAN: I'm not listening. I'm simply letting the thoughts go...
DAN'S MIND: Wouldn't it be freaky if the reason the gong hasn't run yet is because everyone but you died? What if you're meditating alone in a room full of corpses?
DAN: That's not happening.
DAN'S MIND: Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Forget I said anything.
(A moment of silence)
DAN: I hate you.
DAN'S MIND: Hey, don't mind me. Go back to meditating.
DAN: I am NOT meditating in a room full of dead people. Everyone is just fine.
DAN'S MIND: I know.
DAN: So let's drop the subject.
DAN'S MIND: Fine.
DAN'S MIND: I'm just saying it would be freaky is all.
DAN: You aren't getting to me, you know. I can hear breathing. People are still alive.
DAN'S MIND: Oh yeah. For sure. Of course...
DAN: Of course what?
DAN'S MIND: Well, what if that isn't your friends breathing?
DAN: Shut up.
DAN'S MIND: What if it's the Japanese girl from The Ring crawling up behind you?
DAN'S MIND: She's getting cloooserrr...
DAN: I'm not turning around...
DAN'S MIND: She's right behind you...reaching for you...
DAN: Not turning around. I am one with the universe, I am one with the universe...
DAN and DAN'S MIND: AAAAIIIIEEEEEEE!
Overactive Imagination - 1 Buddha Nature 0
(*) I've been doing comedy for four years and I'm at thirty minutes on a GOOD night. How they're expecting me to meditate for thirty-five minutes after just a couple months is beyond me. I often find myself spending the time imagining Buddhist comedians--"Gong me at thirty minutes."
Monday, March 30 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton
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