With the semester coming to a close, I found myself in a unpremeditated predicament. I’ve been a yoga hobbyist for a few years, and finally got my certification as an instructor last August in India (without serious intent of teaching), but between work, school, and all my other daily commitments I’ve found myself without the time to attend my yoga class!
The make-up options for missed classes are either yoga (none of which I could do because of my ridiculous schedule), or another course in the “Mind/Body” section.
So I showed up, 8am sharp, removed my shoes and jacket, and prepared myself for 90 minutes of sitting with my eyes closed. The instructor walked in and announced that the final exam would commence shortly. We were all told to put our shoes and coats back on, while I was meanwhile wondering how it was exactly that I had to take a final exam on something I knew so little about. In other words, I had no choice but to try my hand at Zen meditation.
The instructor opened with a story about himself in the 70’s. It ended with him stranded in Canada, having swallowed a large amount of speed while hitchhiking from Chicago, and frantically sneaking into people’s yards to drink from their garden hoses.
Then we began our exam. It went something like this: One person was the communicator, able to speak, but not to see, while the other was the guide, able to see but not to speak. It was a convoluted rendition of see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, and I couldn’t stop thinking about these monkey statues in the Indian guesthouse where I studied yoga last summer.
So I was assigned a random partner, a frat looking guy named Chandler. We assumed our roles: me the guide, him the communicator, and were let loose for an hour outside. In the midst of urban Boston. I guided him around a residential area so he didn’t get hit by cars, then it was suddenly time for us to switch, and I had to be the communicator. He guided me back to the busy intersection I had worked so hard to avoid, and we went into convenience stores where I almost kicked a lady in the head (or so he told me later).
When we made it back to the rec center (our instructor assured us that most people normally make it back), he explained the exercise.. or at least tried to. By practicing some form of meditation each day we build a stronger center. This allows us to connect with our surroundings, making it easier for us to guide and communicate in the aforementioned setting.
Some of it was lost on me, hopefully I will understand one day.☼