Haven't got a photo of a monkey (subversive or otherwise) to hand, so you'll have to make do with a dreamy-get-your-mind-into-mindfulness type sky scene.
Aaaah, mindfulness and the mindfulness group. Still not sure I'm really cut out for this class and do rather wonder why I keep going. I guess I am determined to find out what this mindfulness is and actually feel some benefit of it.
Yesterday's class involved two exercises. The sitting exercise where one was meant to sit still for about ten minutes while the leader talked about what bits of you were in contact with chair, floor etc. Feelings in every part of you, feel the feelings, feel what it feels like. Now you can move position. Oh joy, moved position and thought the exercise (such as it was) was over, uh uh, not so, we were merely getting a chance to move slightly and were still meant to be eyes shut and 'into this'. By now I'm looking about the room, seeing the other group members all eyes shut and perfectly still. Are they all getting this? Are they in trance? Are they in a "mindful" state?
After the exercise they have a discussion of how it felt. Well I'm sorry guys I had to admit that I just wasn't "there" and couldn't grasp what I was meant to be doing. Using a Buddhist analogy from "Eat, Pray Live" I said I had Monkey Mind, meaning my mind kept jumping about like a lively monkey, popping up this thought, that thought, this idea, this feeling and that idea. It wouldn't switch off and give me a blank screen and I couldn't just ignore all thoughts.
Blank faces all round.
"Well that's okay really. If thoughts come and go that's just fine."
On to the next exciting exercise.
Take your yoga mat – Oh God no.
Picture dear reader a room full of people flat out on the floor on their little yoga mat islands. Group leader is now intoning us "close your eyes, breath and feel the sensations of your body". You were to feel the sensations were bits of you touch the mat, then the stretching began.
"Raise your arms above your head and stretch out the fingers of your right hand and at the same time stretch out the right foot. Feel the stretch, but don't overdo it. Really be careful and don't do this is you don't want to, it's really up to you".
When he gets to "raising the hips" I have begun to get the giggles. Sorry guys, but you know when you get that silly teenagery giggly feeling and it bubbles and boils and erupts all over you. To stop it bursting out you end up coughing and snorting and have tears trickling out the corners of your eyes as your face contorts into a rictus grin trying to keep the laughter inside and not "out there".
I have infected the lady next to me. Actually I feel she may be a bit of a kindred spirit as she too had been making the "I don't quite get the point of this stuff" noises earlier as well. She is now gulping for breath and has shoulders shaking and lips twitching.
At last the exercise ends and we all sit up. "How do we all feel after that?" drones the leader in his seriously calm and no ups and downs voice. A few people say "relaxed", "happy", "stretched" (duh, that's an obvious one), "slightly giggly" says the guy from my other side. "you know when one person gets the giggles and it spreads" – all eyes swivel to me, the guilty party, The Giggler. The leaders (for there are two – man with monotone voice who sounds as happy as a man on death row – and woman who always appears rather twitchy with a lot of nervous sweat – both look at me with that "I'm SO disappointed in you" look that you give to a child when they have raided the biscuit tin.
That's it, the floodgates open and I just keel over in fits of laughter. Those pent up giggles just erupt like a volcano. Lady next to me does the same, guy on other side joins in. We are all glared at.
To end the class we have to say one word that describes our feelings right now. "relaxed", "relieved", "rested", "happy" (this is the guy next to me). Me, what did I say, what was my word?
PS Thanks for your "welcome home" comments yesterday. I'm disapointed that the changeover hasn't worked out yet completely (we're working on it) and also all my beloved comments have not been moved accross to Typepad. Work in progress. Have a great weekend.