This weekend I visited an old friend in lovely Dorset, a visit that I've been promising myself for a while now. Tobyn and I used to share a house together, attended the same drama college and, later, shared another house and meditation teacher in the same town that i found myself in this weekend. Gillingham is a typical new town, an old core surrounded by rather soulless housing estates; and it was in the midst of this rather unpreposessing settlement that I arrived at Zendo
where Tobyn now lives and teaches.
Our meeting was, as is sometimes the case with truly close friends, as though we'd been apart for only a week, as opposed to the fifteen years it has actually been. Being in each others' company was easy and playful, just as it had always been. Friday evening then, passed over a rather pleasant Indian meal with catching up on what we'd been up to during our time apart, and reminiscence about "the old days".
I had timed my visit to coincide with a beginner's meditation course, essentially to see if it was something that I wanted to make a part of my life again. For those of you unaware of this which is, I suspect, the majority of my friends; I used to practice meditation as a daily routine for several years. When I moved away from my teacher, having been offered a far better job than I had at the time, I gradually stopped my daily practice. This weekend's course at Zendo reconnected me with meditation practice and made me wonder why on earth I had stopped doing it! I should probably stress at this point that this isn't a religion, nor is it a substitute for such; also I have not turned into a hippy. It is a combination of yoga and Zen meditation practice, which sounds terribly fluffy but, in reality, is anything but.
Returned home today, feeling battered and bruised as though I'd done a really serious workout; this is a feeling that, thanks to ME, I haven't been able to experience for many years. So everything hurts, and yet I didn't burn myself out with physical effort. I'm certainly tired but not in an ME kind of way (this is quite difficult to describe) but in a quite normal way, which is a most refreshing change; those of you who are also living with ME will, I'm sure understand what I'm trying to get at here. In short, I am experiencing a happy sort of soreness and tiredness ... and my posture is better than it has been in years!
Will I continue to practice? Well, I certainly hope to. Daily practice isn't trivial though and it is very
easy to find excuses for skipping a morning or evening sit; which, of course, is the start of a very slippery slope. Only time will tell I suppose but, for the moment, I am hopeful.