By the fifth minute, I had already lost interest. The rest of the room seemed deep in meditation. I know because I opened one eye and checked. I hurriedly shut the roving eye as I sensed the instructor approach. “Empty your mind,” he droned in a soporific tone designed to help us meditate. My inner voice weighed in, “I hope the tailor does a good job with my dress. Wasn’t he supposed to give me my clothes last evening?”
“Think of the deep blue sky; imagine lying flat on a plain stretch of lush green grass and silence for company.” My thoughts went to my yet-to-be-planned holiday. “Goodness, I hope it is not too late to book a holiday.”
“Let your emotions flow. Laugh if you wish to. Cry if you want.” I almost giggled thinking of our naughty secret from last evening. The spouse and I had polished off the pizza that the children had set aside for the next day and they still didn’t know about that.
That is me. And, then there is the spouse; the opposite of me, as far as religion and spirituality are concerned. The spouse is a card-carrying religious person, in fact, a judicious mix of religious and spiritual.
He prays to every god, respects every religion and in the absence of a physical manifestation of God, he closes his eyes and recites the shlokas which, no surprise, he knows by heart. He prays on behalf of the family and asks for special forgiveness my way because I do not look in the direction of the puja room unless I need to spring-clean it.
Related reading: Religion: The elephant in the room
Too many thoughts
The husband was keen that both of us attend the workshop on meditation because it was important we learn together if we want to implement the principles in our lives and in our home. I dread the thought of organised meditation, yet I agreed for the sake of solidarity.
Five days of regimented meditation and several Google searches later, I would learn that emptying the mind does not mean that we must certainly draw a blank. One must let the thoughts flow without working hard to intervene. One could imagine that one is watching from the top as thoughts freely swoop in and out of one’s conscience.
The husband confessed that he had no trouble in emptying his mind of all thoughts. Men, I scoffed. They hardly have things to worry about, whereas the women, we juggle several thoughts in our head. I glanced around in the room and saw serene faces listening to the facilitator with intent. Each one had a tiny scribbling pad and I saw them noting their learnings from the workshop.
The couple near me seemed to communicate with their minds. They seemed so much in tune with each other; in fact, they looked identical as far as their expressions were concerned. I envy such couples whose philosophies match. They had the same opinion on religion, spirituality, education and lifestyle and agreed with each other on all aspects of the debate on subjects that are open to interpretation.
We’re both practical
As far as the spouse and I are concerned, I am the opinionated one in our relationship, whereas the spouse is a staunch follower of the heart’s opinion. We are practical people most of the time, so we know when we have lost the battle. Hence, in our household, each follows one’s own path to spirituality and religion.
He draws strength from prayer, whereas I follow cold logic, mind control and attribute everything to karma. My god is my work and my family; on the other hand, my husband’s god is all that and the religious one. In our own way, we believe in a superpower; however, we differ in the manner we approach spirituality.
We argue, debate, and agree to disagree on many matters. However, we let our children distil our opinions but follow their own path, as they are old enough to understand.
A sharp nudge on my waist woke me from my reverie. “You were snoring,” the spouse informed me. Well, thank God for the darkened room for the relaxation stretch of the workshop: the shavasana.