A few months ago, when I was struggling with my recent breakup, I had the brilliant idea that meditation would make me feel better. I searched around a little, found a legitimate-sounding course on Mindfulness-Based Meditation, and paid $500 to sign up. The orientation session was last night. It went somewhat like this:
Shit. I'm late. These things never start on time though, right?
(Enter room in which people are sitting in a circle with their eyes closed and their hands in their laps.)
(Noisily take the one remaining chair at the front of the room. Drop bag on floor, causing multiple people to open their eyes.)
Okay. I can do this. Close my eyes. Ommmmmmm. Do I smell like McDonald's? Can the people around me tell that I just ate a Filet-O-Fish?
Is it morally wrong to eat a Filet-O-Fish before a meditation class?
"Good evening class. My name is <weird New Age name that I would bet money she made up>. I will be your leader for the next ten weeks."
Ten weeks? Shit.
I'm not sure I can do this for ten weeks.
(Notice that the instructor is barefoot. With her bare feet on the classroom floor. Try not to be grossed out thinking about the number of feet that have touched the floor and are now contaminating her feet.)
Okay. I need to pay attention. What is she saying?
"...homework requiring approximately 45-60 minutes..."
Homework? I didn't know there was homework.
It's okay. I can do 45-60 minutes of homework per week.
WTF? 45-60 minutes PER DAY? Who has time for that?
Do these people not work?
(Look around. Notice that many of the people in the class appear to be under the age of 20. Suspect that they all live in their parents' basements and do not in fact have to work.)
(Notice really smiley girl across the room who is listening intently to everything the instructor is saying. And nodding enthusiastically. And smiling as if she took really good drugs prior to meditation.)
"Everyone taking this class will feel differently about the process. It's important that you use your inner wisdom to guide you to your best possible outcome."
(Snicker at use of phrase "inner wisdom". Notice that smiley girl is nodding as if the instructor is sharing truly profound insights into the nature of the universe. Uncertain if I should be feeling vastly superior or inferior to smiley girl at this moment.)
OMG. I can't listen to this woman talk about "inner wisdom" for ten weeks. I will kill her.
(Look around to see if anyone else is losing their mind like I am. Notice more people smiling and nodding at the instructor. Am now convinced that the instructor handed out drugs while I was stuffing my face with fries in my car.)
"And now we will work together to develop our guidelines for supporting each other through the next ten weeks, as we learn more about meditation and about ourselves. Who wishes to suggest the first guideline?"
No. OMG no. Are we five? This is what I used to do with the kids at the summer program I ran as a teenager. THE KIDS WHO WERE FIVE.
(The woman next to me speaks) "I think it's very important that we respect each others' inner spirits. Because we're all here to make our inner spirits stronger, and if we say hurtful things, it can weaken our inner spirits."
(Officially hate woman next to me. And do not ever want to hear the word "inner" used in any context ever again.)
(Notice that the name tag of the woman next to me says Beaghan. Because her parents were clearly crazy.)
(Smiley girl talks) "I just want to say that I feel really lucky to be here. So, so lucky."
"I feel like the universe has presented me with a gift of wonderful people to learn from and to grow with."
Shit. I hope that noise is just in my head. Am I making that noise out loud?
Do I smell like french fries?
"Alright class. This is an excellent list! I can tell that the next 10 weeks are going to be a joyful experience of learning and growing..."
No they aren't.
I'm not sharing anything with you crazy people.
Stop saying that.
Now you're just fucking with me.
"Now, some people decide after the first class that they simply aren't ready to take this journey that we're about to embark on."
Oooh...me! That's me!
"Maybe their lives are too busy, or maybe their inner spirit just isn't in the right place to undertake a spiritual quest at this time."
Or maybe they think you're nuts, you barefoot hippy.
"If you are feeling this way..."
Yes! Me! I AM FEELING THIS WAY!
"...you can receive a full refund on your course fees until 4 PM tomorrow."
And that is how I failed at meditation.