|Bell - from a thangka of Rang-rig Togden |
by Kumar Lama
Chapter 1, pages 3 - 4: Relaxing into Meditation
A group of sixteen people sit in a circle on plastic schoolroom chairs. Their eyes are closed; their hands rest in their laps. Surrounded by the chaotic decoration of a textiles classroom the group has an atmosphere of stillness. The only sounds are slow and gentle breathing, or the occasional cough. After ten minutes, the group leader silently raises a bell, and—after a pause of a few seconds—strikes a single note with the bell’s clanger. The pure sound echoes through the room, gradually dying away. Slowly—as the sound fades—each member of the group begins to stir, opening their eyes, stretching their limbs, and smiling at one another. “Good evening everyone. How has your meditation practice been this week?”
This was a typical scene for the opening of one of my relaxation and meditation classes for several years. School rooms are never entirely satisfactory for teaching practices such as meditation but this textiles classroom was one of the better ones. I offered the class as an attempt to bring the practice of meditation—in particular—to a wider audience.