The room fell silent, but not silent enough. There were coughs, bodily noises, feet sliding, and yes, a cell phone. I thought, it's going to be tough to concentrate on doing nothing. The coughs seemed ceaseless. I wondered, well, we are heading into allergy season, is that why there are so many coughs? Or is this just how people always are? It isn't often I'm in a room with 2,700 people.
But then something happened. I don't really know what happened, because it's as if I wasn't there when it occurred. I mean, I was there, but I was nothing more than just there. Sitting. Breathing. Not hearing coughs. Not hearing feet shuffling. Not even hearing silence. I was awake. I was conscious. It wasn't that hard. I was peaceful. I was meditating.
There we were. An auditorium full of silent people, together, effortless, releasing our minds from daily stress, buried in peace, meditating.
And then it was over. The Guru woke us up -- and then he gave us a jolt. He told us in his gentle meandering voice that we had been in this "amusement paradise" for 22 minutes. Not 10 minutes as he had suggested, but more than double that. The entire room gasped. We had disappeared for nearly the length of an evening news broadcast.
And, even though it felt counterintuitive to do something so seemingly solitary with so many others, it actually now made perfect sense. Later, The Guru told me, "Group meditations help in creating a positive energy in the atmosphere." Meditation was all about vibrations, he said. Just as we "catch anger" from angry people around us, we "catch" positive energy from positive people around us. The room was surely full of positivity.
So there you have it. A frazzled New Yorker with a Ganges-long list of to-dos may have just peacefully and willingly made her list longer.