I went to my second ever meditation class tonight. Naturally I wanted to tell you all about it.
I have a disruptive, petulant habit of rehearsing conversations in my head. This narcissistic tendency is exactly what meditation classes are supposed to combat: be present, in the moment, that sort of thing.
But I have this new friend, S., that I’ve been going to these meditations with. He introduced me to the idea in a discussion about our eerily similar neuroses and I began attending the sessions with him the following week. We get along well, he’s a very nice person, etc., and last week I suggested we go for a coffee or drink after this week’s class. So all weekend I’ve been worrying that I won’t have anything to say when we sit down for a glass of wine. I’ve been making knee-jerk mental lists of conversations we can have, immediately scolding myself afterwards for giving in to my anxiety.
I also wanted to ask the instructor some questions related to my post last week – about validation and pain, but I settled on asking him if he could recommend a book for highly critical people becoming involved in meditation.
These two interactions were set to occur immediately following the meditations session and let me tell you, I compulsively rehearsed them both the entire time. I would think about my breath for two seconds, and back to mentally introducing myself to the instructor. Feel the air on my face skin for a moment, and worry about how much detail I would provide to S. in explaining my conflict between mindfulness and self-destructive impulses. I think I missed the point.
And then, as if it couldn’t get worse, a young man (whose posture, I noticed, was not correct and he was looking around the room when we were supposed to have our eyes closed. True that my eyes were not closed either but at least I wasn’t looking around the room.) asked the instructor three times why he’s in a wheelchair. And let me be clear, it was not a Q and A session. We were all quiet and focused and had been for 20 minutes at his first attempt, and out of nowhere he blurts out that he wants to know how he got in that thing. The somber instructor replied with appropriate boundaries, but then the young man asked two more times! The nerve!
Needless to say this made me extremely uncomfortable. My skin just crawled. I wanted to soothe the awkwardness so badly. I wanted to say, Well it sure is hot in here, or at the very least meet someone’s eye who would share the moment with me. S.’s eyes were closed, I checked. But instead I took this as an opportunity to stay with the bad feelings. The idea is to experience every feeling; don’t self-talk it away, don’t turn your back on it, don’t shame it quiet, just walk through it and notice how it feels. So I did. And it felt awful.
In the end, as usual, I had no problem finding things to say to my new friend and there was no issues talking to the instructor about books. It’s all just chitter-chatter in my debilitated, inconsequential mind. So far this has really only served to increase my paralyzing self-analysis and hasn’t actually affected my life at all. But I remain hopeful.