Yesterday morning I sat down to meditate and it took me a moment to calm my inner monkey. In that moment I was taken back to the time when I was first learning how to meditate, about 20 something years ago. The memory and feeling came back as clear as the morning’s light.
I used to go to yoga, thai chi, kung fu up in a very cold Cultural Center in the Albaicín neighborhood. We finished each class with, what was for me at the time, a very lengthy mediation. Besides the lack of warmth in the room I also remember every bit of my body from my chest down falling asleep, the kind of asleep where you cannot move and have to massage every muscle to be able to stand up and avoid looking like a new born goat or simply falling down. It took me quite a long time to get used to sitting for long periods of time and to allow my mind to relax into a meditative state. We would finish class quite late, around 10 or 10:30 p.m. and inevitably at some point I would lose the concentration of my breathe, succumbing to the pain in my legs and become distracted by the growling in my tummy. This is the moment where I would practice my own meditation focussed on what to have for dinner. To make it through the end of the meditation and the incredibly long winded post meditation chat from my professor I would take part in my own mental movie.
In my mind I would leave the building and begin the beautiful walk through the narrow streets of the Albaicín enjoying the crisp winter air. I would pass by my favorite spot, Plaza Carbajales and enjoy the beautiful view of the illuminated Alhambra before making it down to a local food shop located the street that we called the Tea house street, filled with Moroccan shops and tea houses. My roommates called the shop, la mala follá , refering to what they thought of as the general grouchiness of the owners. I, however always found them quite friendly. I would purchase one avocado, one tomato, one cucumber and a small loaf of bread. Eventually I would make it past Plaza Nueva and to my home, the Hostal Colonial, a place that was like living a movie everyday. I would run up into the lively kitchen to prepare my favorite salad. In my mind this salad would taste so glorious and my little meal meditation would take me just up to the point to when I would hear my professor’s long awaited hand clap that would signal the end of the “post meditation monologue”. Happily I would join in clapping my hands together and rub warmth into my hands, face and legs and bundle myself up to continue my beautiful journey home to my ritual salad.
Carbajales is still one of my favorite plazas that I pass by whenever I wander through the Albaicín for an afternoon walk. And the days have long passed since that cold building filled with many memories but the meditation continues, no pain and less thoughts about food in the moment.