Nope | HumorOutcasts


July 16, 2014


One afternoon I found myself in a Buddhist temple in a southeast Portland neighborhood. I was sitting on the floor in a large room with my legs crossed and my hands on my knees. My eyes were closed and the room was dead silent. I was trying out meditation for the first time. When someone suggested that I try this, I was hesitant. I had zero knowledge on the topic. I grew up in a staid New England suburb in a family of lawyers, doctors, and veterinarians. The only thing Eastern in our lives was the occasional take-out dinner.

But I gave it a try. I sat there in the quiet room on a comfy space-carpet and emptied my mind of all thoughts. I focused on a quiet, tranquil beach somewhere in the Caribbean. The sky was cloudless and the sun was warming my face. Small waves gently lapped against the shore. Anytime a negative thought tried to creep into the picture I envisioned it floating away like a happy little Bob Ross cloud. Despite being a non-stop thinker by nature, I managed to stop. I started feeling calm.

Then a dog started barking.

I tried to ignore it. But the creature just wouldn’t stop. The barks got progressively louder and more frequent. I started losing my concentration, waiting for the next bark in the same way you get distracted and drawn to the noise from an asinine car alarm. The lovely beach in my mind disappeared. It was replaced by an El Camino up on blocks near a dog chained to tree. Some poor soul was just trying to deliver the mail and avoid getting bit. I found myself thinking “Please, please just shut up.”

Masters of meditation describe this as “embracing a thought pattern not worthy of support.”

If you ever want to have some fun, do this. Find a meditation center in your town and then open up a dog kennel business next door. The Buddhist guys will lose their Zen real quick, guaranteed.

I sat through the remainder of the session, trying to bring back the beach to no avail. But it was worth a try.

Thomas Sullivan

Thomas Sullivan is the author of So Much Time, So Little Change (a book of essays published by Wayman Publishing). It is available at Amazon in print and Kindle. Thomas lives in Seattle.

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2 Responses to Nope

  1. July 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    If ya just back a mobile home onto the property and use that, probably around $200.

  2. Bill Y Ledden
    July 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    What’s the going rate for a dog kennel business anyway?

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