Updated: Feb 28, 2021
This morning I hosted my first live event on Insight Timer — a meditation app where I have a teacher’s profile. This was not my first time teaching mindfulness online, but the first time using this digital platform. I’m not a techie, nor technologically inept. Somehow, I am able to navigate the nuances of cyberspace efficiently enough to facilitate some form of a virtual meditation hall gathering. I’ve had some encouraging feedback from some participants. But navigating myself in the way I relate to teaching mindfulness online, is a different challenge altogether, the waters of which I’m still learning to sail.
It seems that I need a completely new emotional vocabulary to express how I feel about this new mode of delivery which the covid pandemic has necessitated. It’s an awkward space for me to teach and practice mindfulness, and attempt being myself. A bardo — drifting through the inbetweenness of disembodied association and genuine interconnection. I launch the event with a click, and look at myself in the screen. Will a thousand people join!? Or three? This morning I had sixty five. I float between anxiety and excitement. I long for the intimacy of real connection, and the inclusiveness of being with people absorbed in their experience of being present. But simultaneously I can also acknowledge the heartfelt comments which sometimes take the form of various colourful emojis. I lead some formal practice, during which I breathe into this new way of being. Can I be the same but different? Or even different but the same?
And luckily there is also good poetry, with its ability to reveal that which is beyond the reach of prose, however expressive it may be. I thank my participants and close the window on my screen. I open a thin volume by Mary Oliver called Blue Horses. A gem entitled “What I Can Do” catches my attention. Reading her words, I relish my prospective elevating, and feel my awareness sinking into my body.
The television has two instruments to control it.
I get confused.
The washer asks me, do you want regular or delicate?
Honestly, I just want clean.
Everything is like that.
I won’t even mention cell phones.
I can turn on the light of the lamp beside my chair where a book is waiting, but that’s about it.
Oh yes, and I can strike a match and make fire.