Maybe not what Buddha had in mind, but earlier today I went downtown on the A train with ipod and Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones in hand, strapped on the headphones and listened to a 30 minute guided meditation.
“Keep your attention on your breath, in and out, feel the air pass through your nostrils and your belly rise and fall. . . .”
Sounds of the subway on the tracks, jostling of passengers, conversations, of course, played through the noise cancelling, overhead subway speakers announcing the next stop and that we should know that our backpacks can be searched if needed by the MTA.
“Keep your attention on your breath, in and out, allow any thoughts to pass . . . “.”
A lady’s loud, plaintiff voice passed by while the subway was making it’s way through the tunnel . . .”I’m hungry, please give me a quarter.” “I’m hungry, please give me a quarter.” “I’m hungry please give me a quarter,” and then finally – “Oh thank you and G-d please you young man.” Then passing out of the car into the next car, “I’m hungry, please give me a quarter.”
“Bring your attention to your breath, in and out, in and out, feel your belly rise and fall and the air coming in and out of your nostrils, let any thoughts come and go as they please, feel your body against the chair . . . ”
I felt the hard subway seats against my back, jolting down the tunnel and the knee of the passenger against mine.
Thoughts of work and home and misery and happiness and then back to the sounds of the subway and I started becoming aware of time and how, like the subway was traveling down the tunnel, I was traveling through time and that nothing in the universe was static.
Great thought, I thought, then I thought wow maybe here comes enlightenment that sure sounded like it. I waited a bit and then . .
. . . back to miserable thoughts and happy thoughts just like always with my enlightenment left somewhere between Canal Street and Chambers Streets.
But that sense of traveling through time still stays with me.