It is dead silent. Chairs are lined up in a bare yoga room facing the wall. I tiptoe in and grab an empty seat.
Time moves at a sloth's pace. It's been less than 15 seconds and I am extremely uncomfortable.
Wait. I signed up to do this. When I could be doing just about anything I want, I chose to be in a room with strangers with my back aching on a hard metal chair.
It doesn't matter how many times I readjust myself, things just don't seem right. My skin keeps sending false signals that there's a bug crawling on me. And my mind, which continues to run a never-ending to-do list, has gone supersonic.
The place is Down Under School Of Yoga in Brookline, Massachusetts. And that day was part of their summer series, an Introduction to Awareness Practice class led by Rich Ray.
When I spoke to Rich outside of the studio before class, I was trying to somehow impress him and show him that I too, was zen. I caught myself saying things that I inwardly cringed at. There was a feeling that I had to prove to him something, even though his actions and words never conveyed it.
I don't think the hardest part of meditation is carving out time or keeping your body still. It is the acknowledgment that you have the power to quietly observe. And without judgment.
We are often so busy listening to the noise pollution around us. Have you ever had to turn on the television for background noise? Same deal. With our smartphones glued to our hands, it's no wonder we are overloaded with sights and sounds.
Try this for one week: sit, in silence, for 3 minutes each day. Eyes open (so you don't fall asleep). Just observe.
If you invest the time you will discover just how much we need this time to ourselves and perhaps some clarity on what actually occupies your mind.
You don't need to try to be anything. You just need to observe.