We’ve had a couple of really busy weeks at work. You’d think that the frenzied days would knock me out and make me sleep like the dead, right? In a just world, I suspect that would be the case. But as it turns out, my brain has been totally wired and it’s been very hard for me to relax and wind down at the end of a frantic day.
I was discussing this very thing at the hair salon the other day and the guy shampooing my hair suggested that a half-bottle of wine was a solution that always seemed to work for him. I had to agree he had a point, but both of us conceded that the morning-after effects could be a bit tough to take. Someone else suggested reading – another worthwhile pursuit, to be sure, and one to which I often resort. But then we said that sometimes an exciting book can make your mind race about the plot potential, then before you know it you’re no longer wired about your day, but instead you're daydreaming about a whole bunch of other things – and still, sleep does not come.
So during the week I wondered whether I ought to give meditation a try. I have never done it before, and I’m not even sure what it’s really about, so I thought I’d have a go. There is a Buddhist Meditation Center in Chelsea, not far from my hair salon, so I had every intention of going along to an introductory seminar there after my haircut on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t have to book ahead of time either – just turn up, pay a small fee, and listen and learn.
As you've come to expect from me though, I totally decided to chicken out at the last minute. Instead of my quest for zen, I decided to shop for second-hand books on the other side of town. While this capitalist diversion certainly cheered me (body and soul), I still feel like I missed out on something.
I have a small Buddha statue by my jewellery box at home and he is so roly-poly and smiley. Every time I look at him, I can't help but wonder what really made me wimp out on the weekend.
You know what I've come to realise it is? I’m a bit fearful about the whole meditation center concept. In my head it’s about floor cushions, hemp pants and incense.
Or perhaps it’s the fear that my instructor will be a past-life regressor with a bald head and long, scraggly beard; or worse, a young guy who only believes in mineral deodorant. Or no deodorant at all.
Or am I just afraid of being in a room with barefoot people? All those sweaty feet smells. Plus I can never remember if I’ve touched up my toenail polish.
Do they make you chant in Buddhist meditation? I don’t want to chant. I will repeat a mental chant or mantra to myself, if it helps, but I don’t want to say anything out loud.
And I definitely don’t want to touch anyone. There is a strict no-touch policy enforced when it comes to this meditation thing. I get tense just thinking about it. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?