Goddamned shoes! I mutter to myself as I trip over them on my way into the #meditation hall. It’s the middle of the night. The sound beating through my head is noisy. I sigh and grab a scratchy blanket from the corner. What does he want? What am I doing here? I see his image facing me down in the dim lighting. A flame burns continuously by his picture, accented with a vase of dime store flowers.

Only one other figure is seated at this hour, near the back of the room. I choose an area closer to the front, yet off to the side. I carefully place my butt on the cushion, pulling the flesh from my bones, adjust the wrap and draw into breath. I’ve disturbed a spider. I see her scamper across the floor. Never mind, I settle into the seed mantra I’ve been given, breathe in the waxy air.

It’s dark and I drop in deeper. The keys, I can still hear them jangling. He’s playing with me I know… trying to wake me out of this dream stupor. Maybe this is just a game but least I’m trying. Back to the mantra. There’s something for my #soul to learn here. My mind needs to quiet. I need to release judgment. I feel a tickle on the back of my neck but don’t move.

The tickle continues. I’m not making this up. It’s going down my back now… a tiny yet perceptible movement. I am witness to all things. A pulsating silence fills the space and it’s as if my whole being dissolves into it. This room is big enough to hold over 100 people in lecture or dozens of sweaty bodies in yoga. Soon it will be filled for early morning practices.

I try to stay present. I’m being worked over, not only by Swami Rama who infiltrates my head, but by spider woman crawling on my back. Still, I don’t move. I let it all happen inside the mind and I’m kind of impressed with myself that I’m not jostled by her weaving or his gestating silence. I don’t know what all this means but I’m here observing.

Maybe an hour passes; I hear the door, people moving about and sense it’s time to return. I bow in the customary way, feeling a sense of pride that I meditated to a no-thought zone. I blink my eyes, adjusting to the light and attempt to rise slowly. But I collapse with a thud to the floor. I’m on all fours, numb from the waist down, powerless like a land-locked mermaid. Pride comes before a fall. Goddamned legs.

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