Test Driving: It’s just a Buddha-call

This undated photo supplied by Christie's auction house shows a sculpture of the seated figure of Dainichi Nyorai, or the supreme Buddha. It is attributed to Unkei, considered one of the two best sculptors of the early Kamakura period in the 1190s, when the most highly regarded Buddhist art was produced. The newly discovered wooden sculpture that had religious objects sealed in its torso for 800 years sold for $14.3 million at auction Tuesday, March 18, 2008, setting a world record for any Japanese work of art, Christie's auction house said. (AP Photo/Christie's Images Ltd. 2008)

Two weeks ago I was hoodwinked.

On my seemingly never-ending search to be “better”, I agreed with attend a meditation class with my friend— I mean if Oprah and Jay-Z swear by it who am I to say, ‘nah’. My expectations were simple: I wanted it all. You know, from the superficial things such as really becoming comfortable wearing large hoop earring on my small head and ending my constant obsession over losing my muffin top, to dealing with the loss of my mother and patiently waiting to be selected by someone who I don’t want to uppercut after three hours. Not too much, right?

There’s just one thing about meditation…it’s kind of hard for me to focus. After about three minutes (ok, thirty seconds in real time) I end up fantasizing about me and some dude in a scenario that’s inspired by brain fodder that’s equal parts Arabesque and historical romance novel. Inevitably, I’m ashamed and start praying to be centered. It works— for maybe 45 seconds. Then I start stretching, and my mind wanders to the news, work or to pondering on whatever reality show I’m into. Finally, guilt settles in. And I accept that I’ve failed, again…so I go watch TV.

I thought, maybe this wouldn’t happen in a class.

I will not say meditation opened me up to wearing hoop earrings. It’s obviously just a coincidence.

On my first day entered the building and quickly realized there was an elaborately decorated altar in the front of the room. Where the heck am I? So, it turns out that our “class” was held at a Buddhist temple. No pressure. As a Christian woman who attends church regularly, my first thought was, “I ain’t got time for this!” I’d just spent three hours in church. But I stayed.

Ok, I didn’t have an MME (monumental meditation experience), but I did relax. Physically, I could feel myself unwind and the moments between fantasy and focus became shorter— with more time spent on clearing my mind.The temple was a very judgement free zone— apparently this in one of their goals— so what I wore and, more important, how I behaved wasn’t openly ridiculed. Oh yeah, and everyone was dressed hippie chic. Folks were laying on the floor and people even had snacks set up in the back. My favorite part was that the man who lead the meditation started off with a soliloquy that was replete with substance… and Seinfeld-esque humor.

Another biggie was that I didn’t feel like I had to choose to “become” a Buddhist to partake in the experience. I could still embrace my Christianity, while utilizing the principles of self-exploration to move towards a better me.

Overall, it was a cool test drive. I sat. I closed my eyes. I conquered.

Oh, yeah…and I finally got the courage to try big earrings.