I really should be enlightened by now.
Some people envisioned their future with flying cars. I pictured not a car but my body flying, or more accurately, levitating. Nothing fancy, just a modest hover. Enlightenment would make me humble that way.
Alas, I have failed to float so much as an inch. Unless you count the occasional bounce of excitement on the bed where I typically meditate. It feels like an electric “Oh! Oh! Om!”current passes through me. It is noticeable. But it is not flying. More like a shiver.
It’s also possible I left the window open.
When I started meditating, the practice was still considered weird by most people I knew. I grew up surrounded by images of gruesome crucifixions and bleeding sacred hearts. But sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed made family members uneasy. It was as if I’d said, “Hold my beer while I do a little witchcraft.”
This was in 1974 in the Midwest. I imagine if I’d grown up in San Francisco, the ‘rents would be like, “Cool, but have you tried LSD?”
By the way, ‘rents is what cool kids called their parents back then.
A boy who sat behind me in my third period high school writing class called his parents ‘rents and he was obviously cool because he also suggested I title my poetry assignment Feed Your Head like Grace Slick. I didn’t.
As a teenager I read an article, I think in Psychology Today, about meditating with a mantra. A mantra was described as a meaningless sound. The article said any sound would do the trick, and that Om was popular. I did not care to be popular. I was edgy and deep, dang it! But after supper one night I went into the living room, popped the clutch on the old recliner, closed my eyes and silently repeated a sound. It worked! I was about four Oms short of enlightened when Dad asked for his chair back.
That was just as well because I didn’t want to frighten the family by accidentally flying around the house.
A few months later, I volunteered to work in the kitchen at a residential meditation course. In return I got room, board, and all the meditation time I could steal. A tiny woman performed a brief ceremony with a candle and incense accompanied by, I’m sorry but I’m being totally honest here, tone-deaf singing. Then in a soft solemn voice, she told me my mantra. Her reverence was a little too whispery for my ears so I had to ask her to repeat the mantra. She said it wasn’t good to say the thing aloud but she would make an exception because she wanted to make sure that when I repeated my mantra silently, I pronounced it correctly.
This was a real tree-falls-in-a-forest moment for me.
I hadn’t even begun my first officially sanctioned 20-minute meditation and already I considered upping the enlightenment ante with a bed of nails. Had the mall carried such a thing, I might be poked full of holes. Holy holes, but still.
A boy on the meditation course told me he was sure I would get enlightened before him because I was obviously already so highly evolved. That sounded like a standard single meditator’s pickup line. But I had a higher opinion of him. Probably because I was so evolved.
We did hook up by the way.
It’s okay because it was tantric.
We could hardly wait to get enlightened! We ditched the meditation course early and headed overland on rickety local buses from Italy to India. We pretty much despised each other by Iran. I think of that trip as my Eat Pray Hate journey.
He and I split up in India but pinky-promised that whoever got enlightened first would visit the other via meditation. That was decades ago. We occasionally video chat, which back in the day might have actually wowed me more than a measly meditation visitation.
Life went on. And on. And on.
I’m old now bordering on “olde” with an old English e at the end. I still meditate twice a day, silently repeating the same mantra I learned when I was an eighteen year old fresh out of high school.
I’m still not enlightened.
But, you know, maybe by the time you read thisRecommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in