Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ohming time

I did it! I went along to the Buddhist center. And I might even go back again. It was not entirely what I expected, though. See, the last time I went to a Buddhist center, oh, maybe 9 or 10 years ago, it was to a meditation class. And the monk led us nicely through meditating. It was all very lovely and ohm-inducing. This one, however, was not a class. I mean, it wasn't billed as a class so I'm not sure what I was expecting. They had an orientation for beginners at 7, which I expected to be sort of class-like, then the main meditation started at 7.30. Except the orientation didn't do much other than confuse me, and we were expected to follow along with chants from a book and then basically meditate on our own for an hour. Well, by "on our own" I mean in a room with other people but with no instruction.

It was the chants that really got me. They were written out in Tibetan script, and then phonetically, and then in English. So we were supposed to chant in Tibetan, following the phonetic instruction, while thinking about the meaning. Umm, sorry, but I can't chant in Tibetan and follow the English version at the same time. Maybe one day I will be able to, but there was no meditating on the deeper meaning going on in my head. It was more along the lines of "Om Mani Peme Hung - wait a minute, is this the same as Om Mani Padme Hum but written differently? Om Mani Peme Padme Hu...oh, out of time. Om Mani Peeme Hong....uh, nope." But the more confusing part was that we chanted three times, and then people seemed to speed chant it many more times - I wasn't sure how many it was supposed to be or what was going on at this point. So I just focused on saying it slowly and correctly while the large older gentlemen next to me was going (at a thousand miles per second)..."Um-a-num-a-num-anumanumanumanum..." with his mala clicking around at lightening speed. Or at least, that's how it sounded.

So I didn't reach enlightenment. My legs fell asleep during the meditation and then really effing hurt when I moved. I was not very successful at quieting my mind. That's OK. Nobody is going to do terribly well the first time out. I will try again, most probably. I liked the place - it had a nice calming vibe with lots of pretty hangings and buddha images. The nun in residence was very cute and smiley. I liked that we prayed for world peace and for the health of the Dalai Lama. It didn't feel intrusive onto any theories I might have about God and who or what he/she/it/om is. And I did learn how to say Padmasambhava so I'm sure that'll be useful in the future.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

the journey of a thousand miles starts with your foot falling asleep?