I was told about an amazing guy who runs a guided meditation session in the hall each Friday, and already has a string of (mostly female) followers. Suddenly, all my friends are wearing baggy pants and amber beads and saying things like, “So deep. So truly profound,” and staring pensively at the clouds passing over head while their kids run amuck, trying to rub off their new henna tribal tatts.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally find worth in stopping to take stock of life. But becoming dreamy in the middle of a supermarket queue while waiting for my checkout operator to figure out the difference between lebanese and continental cucumber is not on my bucket list.
So I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
I entered the darkened hall late, after spending far too much time battling with the suggested fisherman’s pants.
Eight women were seated on the floor around a man whose legs were contorted into a pretzel shape. On closer inspection, I could see his long dreads gleam in the light of the candles that were placed before each participant. He was probably around twenty-five, olive skin, bare feet and nicely shaped muscles.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said.
“Time is meaningless,” he intoned. “Be seated within the circle and look into the flame.”
I sat between Yoga Pants and I-Probably-Only-Eat-Chia-Seeds-And-Yogurt, both of whom weren’t entirely impressed by this new bead-less interloper.
With his eyes still closed, our esteemed leader said, “Let your inner self speak.”
“I ate chips for breakfast,” I immediately blurted.
Chia Seeds shot me a disapproving stare, but Mr Guru just nodded.
“Very good,” he said.
At this, the woman looked at me again, only this time with undisguised jealousy.
“I ate chips for breakfast too,” said a lady across from me. She smiled at me as the Guru nodded again.
“I haven’t had sex in three months,” said one lady.
There was a surprised murmur.
“The curtain falls over the window,” said Mr Guru. “And the leaf falls on granite as it does on water.”
Chia Seeds and Yoga Pants nodded sagely, obviously deeply in tune with his thought process.
“After rain, there is water,” he said.
Realising this wasn’t going to get any prettier, I thought I’d go for broke.
“Joyful sounds of children in glass houses,” I said. “The llama is welcome.”
The woman across from me smirked. “And the bird perches on the branch of destiny.”
“As an afterthought, we think only of ourselves,” said the Guru.
Again, Yoga Pants and her posse nodded.
“Flowing like hair, the apple is poised on the floor of wisdom,” said the woman across from me.
She hiccupped back a laugh.
I coughed to disguise what could have been an outright guffaw.
Guru opened his eyes. “Ladies, this is a place for reflection. Laughter is a unique expression of self, but it may be distracting to others,” he said.
“Distracting to otters?” I said.
Guru’s liquid brown eyes found mine. “I encourage you to step away from the group and look for enlightened silence before you rejoin us.”
I got up to a smirk from Yoga Pants, and a disgruntled sniff from Chia Seeds. My conspirator also rose, along with two others.
Outside, the day was cloudless and bright.
“Coffee?” one suggested.
Without even a backward glance, I nodded. “Let us go forth into our caffeinated destiny.”
“Great,” said the conspirator. “You have your fisherman’s pants on inside-out by the way.”
“Ah, but only if you’re looking in the mirror.”
“No,” she said. “They’d still be on inside-out.”
The four of us laughed and left the Reflection Crew to their daydreams and chia seeds.