“I feel so conflicted, I have to find my center.” And so goes my rather dramatic text message to a friend one Saturday afternoon. OA drama queen talaga ako. And because my mid-year resolution is to put my money where my mouth is, I enrolled myself in a meditation class. Well, at least, what I believed was a meditation class. The meditation was one-on-one, said the pleasant sing-songy voice over the phone. How much, I asked rather warily. Free, she said. Voluntary contributions. Ayos ah, I thought to myself. And scheduled a session earlier this week.
I was met at the tiny lobby by a lady in white robes who asked me for some statistical data (Age? 27. Job? Alternative lawyer. Married or single? “It’s complicated. haha.” No reaction. Friendster joke lost in translation). And after which, a couple of questions. Why are you here? “To find my center.” Naks. So far so good. What is your concept of God. Long answer, safe Catholic School girl answer, provocative answer, or forgettable answer? Option 4, forgettable answer. “A friend.”
And then she ushered me to the meditation room where there was this big circle on the wall with a tiny speck of red light in the middle. I gulped. The lady asked me to stare at the tiny speck of light while she played new-agey music. Mababa pa nga talaga siguro antas ng kamalayan ko at masyado ako madaming napapanood na TV show, pero inamigine ko talaga na kikidnapin ako. O di kaya may papasok na apat na lalaki, ilalagay ako sa mesa. at paliliyabin ang mesa bilang virgin sacrifice. O di kaya bigla ko nalang mapapansin na sumasayaw-sayaw na pala ako. Waaaah. “Don’t give in, Jae, don’t give in. Don’t give in to the scary speck of light. You have an okay predictable life…. loving family, good friends….. stay with the safe and familiar, Jae…. law school…. akbayan…..buying unnecessary stuff in e-bay…planning to watch “A Love Story” with law school blockmates…. No! Don’t give in to the light….. No! No! No!….. Noooooooo….. Noooooo…..”. Borlogs. Kabaam. Dead. Girl in white robe fishes out a walkie-talkie. “Another one bites the dust. We got her.”
Hehe, well not really. But you gotta hand it to them. They really do know how to make you drowsy. The lady-in-the-white robe was whispering in a soft sleepy voice about reaching inward and connecting with my soul, and I was getting rather sleepy. “The most important thing is the self,” she intoned. “Finding your happiness… searching for your bliss…. getting away from the noise…. not caring about the pressure of society to get married…yes, it’s complicated..”
And the spell was broken. Ok, first, she took the friendster joke seriously. At teka, profiling ba ito? Girl in mid-twenties enters room, saying she’s single, and suddenly, you assume she is “pressured by society to get married”?
“Ayoko naman po magpakasal eh.”
She either didn’t hear or pretended not to hear. “…Tired of a life of a lawyer constantly chasing after money, confused by moral dilemmas.”
” Ay wala po akong moral dilemma. At gusto ko po ng pera”.
She pursed her lips in a tight smile and told me to go out. We were to continue our session elsewhere. I was brought to another room where there was a white board. Meditation slash lecture series pala ito, mehn.
“Describe yourself.” she asked, uncapping her white board marker and cocking her head for an answer. I gave her a quizzical look, said nothing for a few moments, until she signaled with her hand that she was waiting for me to speak. “Describe yourself.”
“Um, 27 years old. Um, lawyer. Um, activist.. taga-Akbayan. ”
“How would your friends describe you?”
Super tagal ko bago sumagot. Malay ko, di ba? Tanong nyo sila. E mapagpumilit si Ate. Nangangalkal ng Johari Window ng may Johari Window. So sabi ko nalang, “Fun.”
“Fun?” she gave me a weird look. Is fun such an alien concept to them?
“Fun.” I repeated.
“Okay.” she smiled zen-fully. “Maybe you mean, light.” O sya, sige light kung light, pero pramis, fun talaga ako. As in. Masaya ako kainuman.
And then she started talking to me about the soul, and God help me, wala talaga akong maintindihan. She was asking me kung saan mahahanap ang soul. Which part of the body.
“Heart?” Feeling confident pa ako sumagot. Parang tama, di ba? But no. Mali pala. Nabawasan confidence ko. “Brain?” Mali pa din.”Abdomen?” Sabi kasi ni Teacher Joanne, dun daw ang core natin. Mali pa din. “Head?” Which part. Naks, malapit na. “Temple?” Mali. Yun pala, “the soul is located in the forehead between the eyes.” Hindi ko talaga alam yon. Hindi talaga.
I am certain that they have helped many people find their peace, there is no doubt in my heart as to their sincerity. I have nothing but respect for all religions and all beliefs, believing as I do that majority of the conflicts of the world today are born of intolerance. This is all about me. Sabi nga, It’s not you, it’s me. Maybe sadyang shallow and worldly pa talaga ako. Mababa pa ang antas ng aking pag-iisip, hindi pa ako enlightened. Kung makarating ako sa ganung state of mind, ikagagalak ko, and I can only envy the bliss that so permeates their lives.
Then again, inisip ko baka pwede pa. One more session. Tutal, medyo stress-relieving naman talaga ang pagtingin sa mahiwagang speck of light.
Until, that is, my taxi ride with Gari B. that very same night.
“Hah???!?!?!?! Sasali ka dun?!?!?!?!?!?! Bawal kaya dun ang magsex.”
“Kahit kasal na, bawal pa din. Absolutely forbidden.”
Ok that settles it. Completely.