life, drums, family

Archive for June, 2013

Part 2: Zombie Meditation Camp


When this whole thing started, I kept thinking of it as Zombie Meditation Camp.  Everyone wakes quietly at 4am, while it’s still basically night out, and gets ready in their own way.  Some shower, some stay in bed till the last second, some brush teeth, but the wake up call is obviously not easy for most of us.  Then the hooded zombies silently, and in single file, shuffle our way to the meditation hall.  In this darkened hall, we all have 24″ square cloth-covered foam meditation cushions arranged neatly in about 12 rows front to back with 3 per row on the left for the men, and 4 on the right for the women.  Our names are printed on pieces of paper where our assigned position will be for the next 10 days.  We receive recorded instructions through a speaker system by the creator of this particular course, S.N. Goenka.  Most meditation sessions begin with a recording of Goenka chanting the words of Buddha in the old language of India.  He has a very low, resonant voice, and again, it’s more chanting than it is singing, so at times the sounds are unfamiliar, (“aaaaahhh, at the back of the throat”), and some of them almost very guttural.  I begin to hear words that sound like english words pop out of the chanting….   “naked,” “Johnny say a hey hey,” some Japanese words, “manko (vagina),” “ato wa (next),” “anata (you)”,    and a couple of things sound like Ewok speak: “Gu Du Gu Du,”  “wally wally, jup jup”.