The Last Picture Show Meet angry Mike

The Last Picture Show

Meet angry Mike. I ve had to. It is day four and I m seething. We ve settled into the routine, rising in the dark at 4am to the sound of the bell that will call us to the meditation hall seven more times that day: two hours before breakfast, three before lunch, four before evening tea and an hour plus a talk in the evening. Blessed ten minute breaks split the long blocks into separate sessions, three of which are group meditations guided by the digital Goenke. All this is conducted in absolute silence. I have decided that the Noble Silence is so called because we would otherwise be extremely ignoble. Without communication to smooth the inevitable The Last Picture Show of life together my character is having full reign to reveal its ugly undersides the petty judgements, easy afronts and, frankly, violence. This is one effect of the combined silence and awareness training: you begin to notice so many thoughts that are normally hidden in the tumult. They arrive in my head and instead of passing unnoticed and unchecked a little bell goes off: Ping: Judgement, Ping: Anger. Please don t get the wrong idea, I m not a surpressed axe murderer. These are sadly normal, judgements like Can t he see how ugly those trousers are or How dare he take the next washing-up sink when we re waiting here patiently. Pointless and petty and popping up The Last Picture Show the time. Realisation of how far I have to go?: check. This background mental agression has risen to a crescendo in days three and four because: these b keep making me sit for hours, again and again and again! This never stops. I think. There goes the bell again, already. Don t make me do this, please! as I pull myself up from my bunk and trudge towards the stairs. Of course I signed up for this and I want to be here, but such a reasonable fact doesn t take away the anger. I m itching for a fight. At times, as the hours role on, I am sitting on my cushion desperate to start a royal rumble, turning on The Cougher and letting all this frustration vent itself in a giant macho pile-up. This is not surprising. This routine can only be described as gruelling, or it is certainly proving so for many of us, especially the new students. Ten hours seated per day. We have all become cushion sculptors. You will never see anyone plump a pillow as carefully or apply such origami-like precision to the folding of a blanket. It seems critically important because as you hit minute 90 or 110 those aches become the most significant events in the history of the universe. They expand and they swallow time. That s what I need! I caught myself thinking at one point one of those professional cushions with the Ohm embroidered on the top. Bet that s their secret, a riduculous illusion brought to an end when someone lent me theirs: Nope, worse.

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