I'm an embryonic Buddhist.* My involvement with the philosophy dates back to February, when I acquired a small pile of useful books from a friend who's a hardcore practitioner in the Tibetan tradition. I liked what I read, so I read more. And I liked that, so I've kept on going.
Meditation is a hoot. Our group is small, and meets in a physical therapy room in a medical center. Not a pretty place, but the leader always hangs a string of colorful Tibetan prayer flags to jazz it up. You know how the gays are.
We sit on the floor, in a circle, on little blue cushions. How cute is that? The first day I was there I had a flashback to kindergarten story time, and Mrs Wortman reading Clifford, the Big Red Dog. It was a real page-turner, but I couldn't concentrate on it because the kid next to me was picking his nose and eating his own boogers.
When you meditate, you're supposed to focus on your breath. Beginners are told to count each exhale, from one to ten, and then start over again. Ultimately, the aim is to achieve a sort of trance state in which insight may occur.
Well, guess what? I've only had four visits and it's already working. I must be quite the prodigy, because I've had two brilliant insights right in the middle of seated meditation. I feel compelled to share them with you. Buddhism is making me very generous.
Insight One: "Rainbow Lotus Sangha" is kind of a dippy name. No zing to it. You'd have a hell of a time marketing a group called "Rainbow Lotus Sangha." How are you supposed to spread the Dharma with a name like that? My zippy alternative: "Fruits of Meditation." That's a brand name you can push, kids.Amazingly, the basic books I've read about Buddhism say nothing about meditation leading to the discovery of new ideas for knitting. If you ask me, they're really missing the boat.
Insight Two: Om socks. Somebody should design a pair of meditation socks with "OM" worked into the soles, so that when you sit in full lotus with the soles of your feet up everybody can read it. You could also play around with other two-word designs, like "TANTRIC TOOTSIES" or "KOMFY KARMA." I don't mind telling you that when this flashed into my head I almost fell off my cushion.
That's all for now. I've gotta go find the Dalai Lama's e-mail address.
*Don't worry. I don't plan to write much about this, as I don't like talking about religion. I'm rather like Emily Dickinson, who said the open discussion of divine subjects "embarrassed her dog."