Opening

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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.

9 comments to “Opening”

  1. Comment by JerryT:

    Most things aligned in my universe today. Lucky I guess.

    It’s so nice to read your words again!

  2. Comment by matt:

    …for [a] week…

    You’re not the only one who’s back.

  3. Comment by genevieve:

    Ah, he sounds jealous to me. There’s a lovely writer here called Beverley Farmer with a great short story about a Buddhist retreat. If I can get to a scanner I’ll send it to you sometime.

  4. Comment by walter:

    Welcome back! I really really enjoyed both posts :-)

  5. Comment by Elly:

    So glad you are posting again – I missed your window on another world

    Elly x

  6. Comment by Jack Dalton:

    Physicists…. what do they know about life outside of PRTLI and ERC forms?
    It is good to see you writing for yourself and for us once again.

  7. Comment by matt:

    …for [a] week…

  8. Comment by matt:

    For those of you keeping score at home, dervala fixed it. Sorry, dervala, I don’t mean to be annoying…

  9. Comment by Derek:

    are dubliner’s cynics by nature? if so, i think i may have just found mecca. it would also be a bonus if they didn’t talk about the social web, facebook or digg.

    oh, by the way, i went to a native american retreat. yes, it was in a tee pee. but thankfully, i got the boot. i couldn’t stop laughing at the arse-load of arse.

    ohm. ohm. ohm.