MONDAY meditation and I dash to my den of zen. It’s been a bit of a tawdry week and my mind is as murky as the Brisbane River. A new woman in my class sits too closely to me. “I hope I’m not invading your personal space?” she asks. “No,” I smile, secretly planning to move her mat when she’s not looking. The only thing stopping me is I’m pretty certain it will get me expelled from my meditation class. I know her type: the kind of person where you can have the entire languid stretch of Coolangatta Beach to yourself, and she’ll plop her Disney cartoon characters towel right down next to you. And then she’ll light up a cigarette. For the sake of this tale, let’s call her Space Invader.
We begin our meditation and something strange is happening to me. Instead of feeling universal loving kindness, my body is being overcome by nausea. As our meditation deepens, so does my nausea. I start to panic, I have no idea where the bathrooms are. I doubt I can even make it to the door past the other bodies without being noticed. I consider throwing up in the bowl in which we’ve placed our meditation money. My teacher guides us to our head and asks us to concentrate. My head starts spinning and the room goes a little black. I break my mediation and sit with my head between my legs, panting like a woman in labor. I am hardly the poster girl for enlightenment.
But even more curiously, Space Invader seems to be going through her own unusual experience. Her stomach is bubbling and gurgling like a witch’s cauldron and I’m pretty sure there’s an alien in there trying to escape. In between waves of nausea I have to stifle the urge to burst out laughing. It’s a truly horrendous sound and it won’t stop.
We eventually finish our meditation and our teacher asks for feedback on our experience. Space Invader pipes up: “I don’t know why, and I didn’t feel sick, but I had an overwhelming urge to dash to the door and go outside and throw up.” Now I’m really freaked out. That will teach her for sitting too close to me and my demons. Spacey continues: “I’m currently fighting four wars.” Four wars? Who is this person, Napoleon? I know nothing about her personal battles, but her stomach has declared Jihad on itself.
I tell my teacher about my experience. She thinks I am “making progress”. If wanting to throw up in meditation is progress, I’d hate to see me run a marathon. Spacey, on the other hand, has proven an interesting point. Sometimes we don’t need to leave home to travel. Heck, if her tummy can channel the Taliban by merely meditating, I’d hate to let her loose on the world.
Back at home where I know the way to both the door and the toilet, and I can throw up on my own cash if I’m really desperate, a man who calls himself Aim and Fire sends me an email wishing to make contact. His profile states he wants to be “very, very naughty with each other and make 2012 the Year of Being Naked.”
And Spacey thought she had problems.