Thursday, June 3 was a beautiful and sunny day. For the past six months I only wear gym clothes, no matter where I go. I get up in the morning, put on my gym shirt, put on my gym pants, grab a light jacket and I am good to go.
When I got to the office, I cleared my 3,000 pieces of email, organized a few new galleries, and sat down with Adam, my amazing webmaster, and chose the femalemuscle.com video of the day. Before heading into the city, I decided to get a quick workout in, since I had not trained for most of the week. I have been working on so many different web projects now, femalemuscle alone is a full time job.
Adam turned me on to a great CD, The Mollusk, I listen to it wherever I go. It gets me into a training mood, really heavy. That day I hit legs, my favorite. I first started with squats, and I went really deep. Leg extensions, lunges, straight leg deadlifts, and then hit my calves. 10 minutes of abs and out the door. I try to keep my workouts as short as possible these days because I have so many things to do. Workouts have taken a back burner to other priorities. I have a funny feeling that this will not last for long, but soon enough my workouts will once again become the main focus of my day.
The hour I go into New York City is pretty busy, so I prefer to take public transportation. I saw the bus coming and ran for it, carrying my backpack, a gatorade, and my jacket. I clumsily ran to the bus to try to catch it, and the bus door slammed in my face. I sighed, "oh no", knowing that I would wait 20 minutes and be late for my appointments. Suddenly the bus driver smiled and in a Hoboken mindset quickly stopped the bus, opened the doors. I ran up the stairs, and he said "Everybody was yelling at me to stop, I did not see you coming, sorry." I thanked him and said "how much", and he said "about $175,000" with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face. "For the bus that is," he qualified his answer. I felt really awkward, everyone staring at me, and I cracked up laughing. I told him I was not thinking of purchasing the bus today, and he said, "Oh, the fare to the city, that will be $2.10." I fumbled for the money, sort of embarrassed, but still very grateful for his kindness and playful manner. I walked to the back of the bus, laughing to myself the entire way, thinking Hoboken is an amazing town. Don't you think of moving here though, we have enough people!
Port Authority Bus Terminal has changed over the years. It is like a beautiful little mini mall on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues of Manhattan's West Side. Giuliani, our mayor of the country, turned Times Square into one of the most exciting, amazing, breathtaking and stimulating places on the planet, even in the universe. If you ever want to forget your problems, take a walk across 42nd Street and onto Broadway. You will be so caught up in what is going on. Thousands of people, broadway shows, multimedia video everywhere, on the buildings themselves. B. B. King's concert hall, one of the largest Virgin mega record store (3 floors where I ran in and saw Boy George singing and signing autographs for his new play, Taboo), and of course let us not leave out the Naked Cowboy. This guy amazes me. Just think about it, some dude from God only knows where decides he is going to stand in Duffy Square, wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots that say "Tips" for your tip money, little briefs that say Naked Cowboy on the front and back, singing and playing the guitar. I guess I am not the only one who finds it bizarre, since there are lines of tourists trying to get his photo into the family album. I cannot imagine how much money he makes, he has been on national television, and had now become famous throughout the United States, maybe even in Japan. So if any of you have crazy ideas, go for it.
I meandered down the streets, darting through people as if I were an automobile on a busy interstate, getting real close to but not slamming into my fellow pedestrians. Everyone was hustling to their final destinations, many on cell phones, including myself. 30 minutes of this insane Disney World like stimulation, my brain is about ready to explode. Maybe it already had and I was not yet aware. I kept walking and walking and walking until I hit 26th Street. Trucks and trucks outside the building where my class is. Movie trucks. What on earth is going on? I stop, look around, notice everyone is wearing "Survivor" press passes around their necks. This does not make any sense. Survivor? Manhattan? I ask a young guy what's up, and sure enough they are filming the last Survivor on 26th Street and 8th Avenue. How odd. I thought that was filmed in Australia or some remote desert island. Or Fiji.
I walk into the building where my class is held, have my photo I.D. taken for security purposes, take a deep breath. How am I ever going to get through this? I am now at my final destination, my Buddhist Center. I am there to become enlightened. I know I have a long way to go, but I know I will get there. My dream is to one day become a modern day monk. I take my shoes off, say hello to a guy at the front desk, get there just in time for meditation. I grab a few cushions, put my Gatorade, my cd player, my knapsack down and try to settle in. This will be a true challenge.
My Buddhist teacher, Kadam M., walks in, sits, greets us, and begins our meditation. I try to relax, my entire body is tense. As I begin to relax, I try to focus on my breathing, I count my breaths, and I make it all the way to "Four" when my mind leaves the room. I begin thinking about what I am going to have for dinner, what my kitty kats are doing, how are things at the office, and do not forget to buy my brother a birthday card on the way home. Let us just say this is not easy. I hear my teacher's voice, it pulls me back in, I remember where I am. I start my breathing again. "Five" "Six" "Seven." Now I can start over "One" "Two" "Three" "Four" "Five".....I wonder when my martial arts class starts....cannot wait to start kicking again, I really miss that, haven't heard from Janet all day, hope she is OK.....teacher's voice,,,,"Six" "Seven"......I am doing better, getting the hang of it.
20 minutes of meditation I feel like a new person. I am in a deep relaxed state. Ready for my lecture to begin. The subject is "The Power of Wisdom." It is a 5 class introduction into the nature of reality. My teacher is very funny and makes metaphors throughout the lecture so that we can relate to everything that he is saying. But for some reason I am getting more confused and frustrated by the second. I am being told that everything that I have ever learned is wrong. What is the true nature of the self, nothing exists as it appears, everything is all in the mind, that is where it exists. I am not an "I', I am not even a "me". I do not even exist, why do I even work out? Ultimately there is no self, space is like emptiness. The world is dull, people are ignorant, war, suffering, poverty, sickness, things we cannot understand all around us, even in our own neighborhoods. Emptiness is a blissful place....WHAT! WHAT! I feel like running out screaming.
Everything that I have ever thought is a rude delusion. I find out that meditation is not the state of not thinking. Anger is a distorted state of mind. Anger is acting mentally deranged, it makes you want to "hurt" the people you love the most. I come through all the confusion with the understanding that here we are living in the most powerful city and affluent country ever, and most of us are still depressed. I feel there is a spiritual problem. Joy, compassion, wisdom. Train the mind with virtue. Respond in a positive way to a problem with a positive mind and the problem does not exist. The ultimate goal is to have complete clarity, true happiness, which comes from a peaceful mind.
Two hours later I have learned much. I have learned that I know nothing and do not even exist. But somehow it makes sense. I hope I have not confused you but I will keep you updated on my journey. One thing i do know, I feel great. Obviously stress is caused by distraction and too much on our minds is pure stress. For example, multitasking, something I always thought is wonderful is now not so wonderful to me. I leave the building in slow motion. I realize how I see things is my own perception of the world and people. If you change your mind tou change your world.
AAAAAAHHHHHHH! Honk Honk Beep Beep. Buses running though my head. Get me back to Hoboken.