Does the rest of the gay community rely as heavily on vices and crutches as I do?
I need to be stimulated and rocked from my banal existence on a regular basis. From the moment I wake in the morning with a raging case of morning wood, my body demands its regulated fill of caffeine and nicotine.
My mind races with what needs to be done, what ought to be done and what I want to do. I am constantly hopping from one thought to the next, living in the near future and paying little attention to the present.
My buddy Bobby would rather I stop speed racing through life and pull the car over, stretch my legs and smell the proverbial flowers. This concept has always been a bit of a challenge for me.
I am more inclined to plough my car through an open field and crush every single one of those proverbial flowers. So I look to Bobby every now and then, for an alternative to my hell-or-high-water mode of living.
His library is full of books that extol the great virtue of the peaceful mind. From Zen and the Art of Buddhism and the Celestine Prophecy to such titles as The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power and Truth vs Falsehood, there is no shortage of metaphysical rhetoric to be found.
Would I be able to find an inner sense of peace and tranquility and a better understanding of my spirit, if I flipped through these enlightened tomes?
Nothing worthwhile in the universe ever came from such little effort.
Bobby had made the effort to move beyond words on a page and put the teachings into everyday experience. He has even traveled to Hawaii to learn the art of Lomilomi, a holistic healing method involving ó but not limited to ó full body massage. A clever masseur can tap into centres of the body that have remained ‘untouched’ and often produce an intense physical, emotional and spiritual series of reactions.
My latest outing was thusly inspired by Bobby’s pursuit of centred living.
When I look up events in Vancouver’s gay community, I am always hoping to find something off the beaten track. I have to know what my fellow homos are up to.
I came across the website for the village’s LGBT Centre in the hopes of finding something different. It wasn’t until I saw a posting for their regular Wednesday night meditation group that I got to thinking of Bobby and my own need to calm the hell down.
When I arrived, only a few were in attendance. Hopefully the group will attract more members in the coming weeks.
I had no idea what to expect.
Taking my seat, I was soon given an introduction to the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
This Buddhist meditation seeks to find a mindset that is calm and stable. Calm and stable are alien concepts to me and I feared what I might find though one quiet trek though my head.
Closing our eyes, we began the mediation.
I have always taken issue with closing my eyes in a room of strangers. Are they making faces at me, rummaging through my bag, planning a joke or secretly leaving me all by my lonesome?
You never know.
Thankfully, we were all there for the same purpose.
I noticed during our first meditative exercise just how much crud and wasteful thoughts could enter my head at a given moment.
While I pride myself on my intellect and creativity, I know there is a lot more clogging my head.
Doing my best to cancel out thoughts of half-naked, muscle-bound fantasy lovers, cheeseburgers and rent that canít be paid, I sought that illusive sense of peace. It is no easy feat telling your mind to shut the hell up.
The next exercise involved a raisin. All we had to do was devote all of our attention to this humiliated grape.
With this little SunMaid lying in the palm of my hand, I wrestled with all extraneous thought to give it my full, undivided attention.
We did the same with a cup of tea and this was when my patented form of nervous energy started to get the better of me.
It was damn hot and the moment I held it in my little hands I feared I would dump it on the floor. Nauseating really, how even in this circumstance I could be so engrossed with what others might think of me.
Closing my eyes, I resolved to enjoy this hot drink. I would embrace the sensation of the steaming cup ó its Neo Citron look and smell, and drink it to its last drop.
This was pretty much the extent of my evening.
There were no shocking revelations, no bevy of delicious single men, no open bar, no throbbing disco beats and no nicotine or reefer to be seen.
It was me sitting in a chair with my eyes shut and probably having the best time I have had in a long time.
Who knew the calm could be so stimulating?