We buried our faces in our hands, our bodies twitching as we attempted to hold back roars of laughter. I was profoundly embarrassed but couldn’t contain myself…
Let’s back up a bit. It all starts with my partner and I deciding to sit in on a free meditation workshop at the local library. One always reads about the many mental and physical health benefits of meditation so we thought that we’d give it a shot.
It was much harder than I had anticipated. When faced with the white French-canadian man across from us strumming his guitar and belting out “Hare Rama, Hare Rama”, squinty eyes and all, we couldn’t conceal our amusement. I was profoundly embarrassed and barely made it through the whole hour, let alone opened my mouth to sing along.
This was over a year ago now and oh, how I’ve changed…
While I’ve always felt that the human experience had a mystical element to it and rejected a purely scientific understanding of life, I have a tendency to put my faith in experts (medical professionals, academics) and to scoff at scientifically unproven methods of improving my health and well-being. When presented with someone’s unorthodox methods, magic charms and anecdotes my brain would automatically begin analyzing the situation, the probabilities, the person’s bias, all in preparation for the inevitable conclusion that it’s a load a hokum.
Well, about 6 months ago I attended my first kundalini yoga class, on the recommendation of a friend. She warned me that it might weird me out a little but to give it a chance because, since beginning to take classes, she feels great. It turned out it makes me feel great too. It’s the only yoga class that has reeled me in for regular attendance, not in spite of its chanting, music, white clothing & funny looking poses but because of them. What I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t matter if the vibrations produced by my chanting stimulates a particular part of my brain or if staring cross eyed really does enhance a meditation; when I get into it, I feel good, and that’s that.
It’s prompted me to be more respectful of the superstitions and little tricks of others. My almost-mother-in-law hides key limes all around the house to absorb negative energy, my friend was surprised to find that the movements of a stone pendulum seemed to provide accurate yes or no answers.
Sure we might all be biased and the changes we sense a result of the placebo effect, but it makes us feel good without hurting anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t resort to key limes or yoga to cure serious illness, but they work in their own way for now.
So here is my challenge to all you serious skeptics out there. Trying going with it. You might be glad you did or, in the very least, have a good laugh.