Misadventures in Wonderland: Guided meditation
Our intrepid columnist Alice tells us what she learned at the Inner Space Glasgow Meditation Centre
What was I expecting?
When I went for my first writing job I was told, ‘You’re very good at writing about nothing,’ so this was going to be my time to shine. Sitting on a chair looking forward on a Sunday night, listening to the gentle stock sounds of panpipe music – how much more nothingness do you want? I was worried I was going to pass out from the sheer gravity of the situation so I had a really crappy Subway sandwich on the walk. I hope this paints the picture I was born to paint.
What’s the place like?
It was on an incredibly dark street in Glasgow. I saw the glowing light from inside something that looked like a shop, but stepping inside it was warm and welcoming, like going to your gran’s house if your gran was a room full of strangers. I was asked if I wanted to use to ladies’ toilets by two separate women in long, white gowns, to which I responded ‘No thanks, I’ve been’ like a pro. Turned out I had mayonnaise all over my face from previously mentioned baguette so they were being kind, not the creepy urine thieves I was starting to suspect. I went into a room with several rows of chairs pointed towards an elevated shrine: sheepskin rug, coffee table, candles and some of those spray-painted silver birch sticks with fairy lights attached – you know the ones I mean. I’m not even sure where everyone gets them from.
What happened next?
Next to the stage area, a projected image with a quote about God. I think it meant the inner god or whatever ‘god’ means to you, so I was still not too put off. Everyone was seated and the slow, slick voice-over started. It guides your breathing and your point of focus. You sit and kind of let it happen to you, like Deal or No Deal.
How did it feel?
In healthy meditation you’re supposed to let the thoughts come and go, rather than block them out completely, which I guess is what they teach you in the army. I spent 15 minutes daydreaming about how I’d disarm the man in front if he turned round and started trying to stab me, and then spent what felt like 6 hours wondering why I stopped wearing a watch. I did feel a heaviness and sleepiness I’ve only ever experienced once, while in court.
Is it beneficial?
I don’t think I’ve even had my phone off in two years, let alone my brain. I was more stressed out at being a spiritual fraud than I would’ve ever been watching Columbo in my underwear while constantly refreshing my emails. However, the room was packed full of calm, higher-working beings soaking it up at their own free will, and they seemed to know what they were doing. They were taking something from it that I guess I never will. All I learnt is that I’m never going to Subway again.
Guided meditation sessions take place at the Inner Space Glasgow Meditation Centre on Fridays and Sundays.