It’s 1998. My father is reading the paper on the couch in my New York apartment, and my mother stands behind him concentrating on his head.
“I’m trying to open Daddy’s chakras, but he won’t really let me,” she says sadly.
“Would you ever leave my chakras alone, woman?” he says, and keeps reading.
Ten years later. I’ve just finished a seven-day silent meditation retreat in Marin County, California. I feel as holy as I did when I was nine years old, which is to say, very holy indeed. So much so that I take excursions from the wonder of the present moment to endorse silent meditation to my friends, even though evangelism is not part of the dharma.
In an email to a college friend I describe the retreat. He is a Dubliner, a physicist, and a cynic. “That sounds like a load of arse,” he offers back. “Tell me what you’re doing between cosmetic chakra touch-ups.”
Being forced into the company of my own sweet but crazy mind for a week improves my sense of humor enough to catch myself getting needled—judging, judging. And then I think about the reality of sitting on a cushion for 14 hours a day, seven days in a row, backside falling asleep. Among other things, it is indeed a load of arse. An arse-load of arse, in fact.