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August 16th, 2020
Lucilius walked into the meditation hall where dozens of students sat with perfect postures, their seating spaced evenly, graphically across the floor. He scanned the faces, seeing that most of the students were well experienced, having seen them many times before for months and years. There was in fact not a single new face or anyone that he did not recognize. He had lessons ready, of course, well-oiled on the rungs of his mind ready to iterate for this particular day, but as always, he merely observed the ebb of thought, the flow of concept constructing itself in his consciousness, ideas unravelling their full bloom and collapsing to other notions, a shifting mosaic of word and feeling feeding on memory and imagination.
He took his seat, and took a slow deep breath. The class of students followed in his rhythm. He did not say anything but lightly tapped a bell near him to indicate the beginning of the meditation and then he closed his eyes along with the rest of the class.
Lucilius followed that invisible bubble, sifting into him and filling his lungs, rising his chest and then fleeing again as he breathed out. He maintained a near perfect awareness of his breath.
And then, a few minutes into the session, a car alarm in the parking lot began to blare its whine. Lucilius studied the sound as it came to him and with it he continued to feel his breath, the weight of his body, the temperature of his skin, the pulse of his heart, and with it the shifting of some students.
The car alarm continued, and then a jackhammer started up where a portion of the parking lot was being worked on. Lucilius welcomed the rigid sound, stamping in the spaces between the car alarm, all of it flowed into his sense of being as he witnessed the arrival of breath and it’s leaving.
The obnoxious sounds continued, and Lucilius could hear the unease throughout the room, the shifted seatings, the exasperated breathing. And then rather suddenly and quickly, the heat in the room began to rise. Within minutes beads of sweat were streaming down Lucilius’ face, and stressed sighs sounded from his body of students. He could hear a couple of them mutter and a few got up and left the hall as they were of course, free to do.
After this, a disgusting odour began to fill the meditation hall. Lucilius heard a few of the students gag, and then more got up and shuffled out.
And just when the heat and the smell could not get worse, the sprinkler system went off and everyone still in the meditation hall was suddenly pelted with freezing water. A few students shrieked and cursed, and ran from the hall.
Lucilius felt the icy water sap the heat from his skin. He felt the quiver of his body wanting warmth, but he merely breathed and focused on the sensation of cold, inviting it into his mind, trying to notice every last detail of the pain.
Then the bell rang. Lucilius opened his eyes and there was one student left, sitting with good posture in a corner of the hall. The student’s eyes opened.
Lucilius smiled. “You are done,” he said. “You will no longer meditate here with me.”
The student merely listened, still sitting, drenched in cold and stink. “You must go,” Lucilius said “…teach others.”
The student stood and then bowed to Lucilius and then walked out of the hall.
As for Lucilius, he got up and walked in a different direction. He had to thank his assistant for orchestrating all of the distractions.
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