Monday, December 29, 2008

So it just came to me...

I'm sitting at Labcorp waiting to have my bloodwork drawn and doing what I do whenever I'm sitting waiting. I'm meditating. While meditating the realization came to me that Catholic Nuns sitting there deep in prayer are actually just meditating. I don't know why it took me so long to make that connection. Kinda cool thought when it comes down to it. They arn't as far from us Buddhists as they might like to believe.

It also cleared the way for me to understand why most people consider Buddhism a Religon. Because it is. If you abstract out all the conceptual elements and framework, you'll find everything in common. Mind you I studied comparative religion in school pretty well, but I only just made the connection to Nun's in prayer.

(Update) I posted that while [after] meditating at my Lab waiting for my bloods to be drawn. I signed in at 16:40 and didn't get out of there until 18:10. One of the women who came in right after I did looked over at me and said "Excuse me Ma'am, but I'm wondering where you went? We signed in, sat down, and then you froze and didn't move. I had to look closely at one point to see if you were actually breathing." I looked over and said "I didn't necessarily GO anywhere per se, I was meditating. Gave me something useful and healthy to do while I was waiting. I looked around and said wow, where did everyone go?" She laughed and said "Didn't go anywhere my eye. The place emptied out while you were doing the zen thing. Do you realize you've been doing that for an hour?"

I looked around the room again, smiled and said "Hey, cool, I'm next aren't I?" At which point I heard 'Samantha?' and smiled. She said "Well if your name is Samantha, and I don't see anyone else here who could be then yeah..." So as I got up I said "you know what this means right?"

She smiled and said "I'm next!"

Regrettably I wasn't in and out in two minutes because I'm what's known in the trade as a hard stick. Half the time I have to draw my own blood because the techs and nurses can't get in. The Nurse today when I warned her said "That's okay, I like a challenge, plus I've never met a hard stick I can't get blood from somewhere."

Yeah, that was fun. Went into the back of my right hand three times and dug around in one of the a bit. Spent a couple of minutes trying to get into my arms, and finally said "Okay if I can't get into your left hand you're going to have to do it." Thankfully she did get in which kept her record intact. She looked at me and said "Can you really do your own draws?" "Ah, let the Mistress of the Dark show you about blood..." I said. So I took the strap off my left arm, tied it on my right, grabbed a butterfly and went right in, blood came right out. She was suitably impressed.

Oh, so much fun.

The girl who was behind me looked up when I came out and said "Oh, done so soon? So much for me being next."

"Sorry" I said "She had trouble getting my blood out, it happens now and again, I should have let you go first... But hey, now you really are next, have a great . . . Night?" As I noticed it was now dark outside... It wasn't when I went in.

One more update . . . I don't normally edit a post after folks have started commenting on it, but this one dumb mistake of mine completely screwed up the post. So above where it now says [after] it had said while, which was completely wrong. While I was meditating I was doing only that, makes it kinda hard to write a post.


Véronique said...

Prayer is outwardly focused. There has to be someone to pray to in order to pray. Prayer can be meditative in a way, but I don't think it is the same as sitting. And I've done both.

Buddhism is not a religion for me. Your mileage may vary. :)

Samantha said...

Actually, as I've said before myself, I don't see it as a religion either, however most people do.

Mindfullness is outwardly focused, in fact much, much more so than prayer.

Sitting (zazen) again can take many different forms, such as mindfullness. Remaining in a traditional prayer position, repeating prayers is physically and mentally the same process as 'goshu' (palms touching prayer position) meditation using a mantra. The end results in terms of a practise, when broken down into what's being done are identical.

I don't look at it as a religion either, however when asked on paperwork these days, there is a 'B' for Buddist, though no 'W' for Wiccan. It's a funny world my dear, I don't make this stuff up, I just find it facinating to attempt to understand.

dr.morbius said...

Of course, none of this explains to me why all the Buddhists I know are sweet, wonderful people while all of the nuns I know are completely batshit insane.

Sorry about that. Having a flashback to grade school.


Samantha said...

Well if it helps any, one of the reasons I became a Buddhist is BECAUSE of the completely batshit insane nuns I was subjected to (briefly) when I was growing up.

No need to apologize whatsoever, I know exactly how that feels. I came from a mixed marriage, and my mother grew up in a house that was half Catholic and half Jewish. When I was eight or nine, my grandfather decided that I needed to go to Catholic School and I got sent to Catholic school for one day. It didn't go well at all. I spoke my mind about something, the nun came after me with a ruler and I promised her in the most menacing and scary Jim Kirk voice I could manage that I'd break her arm is she struck me with that ruler.

You can just imagine how the rest of THAT day went. I made it clear that would never happen again because I wasn't afraid of ANYTHING they'd threaten to do. Looked pointedly at my father and said "I've been regularly beaten for three years by the best, they don't scare me at all. Plus I've learned enough of Karate now to defend myself, since they are NOT my parents they cannot legally strike me. So I won't hesitate to defend myself."

Can you tell I knew too much when I was a kid?

The secret to why we are mostly sweet, wonderful, people? The eightfold path that teaches us "right" at a level the Catholics could learn from. It's almost the Buddhist version of the ten commandments, just more clear and way less confusing and self contradictory. So we got it "right" in eight is that lame, short description makes any sense.

alan said...

That ability to "focus" is one we could all do with learning my friend!

I've had some "bad sticks" as well through the years and envy you the ability to do your own...

May the New Year bring all your dreams come true!