The other day I ‘invented’ a new form of meditation. I call it AM (ie just like TM, except that instead of being Transcendental, it’s Accidental.)
Here’s what happened. Susie was at work, Tilly was at childcare and Kitty was asleep. So I decided that I should cook ‘Matt’s Napoli Sauce‘, as you do. Anyway, I had just begun frying the onions (having reduced the heat to low-medium), when Kitty decided to wake up halfway through a sleep cycle (and in case you are wondering, the accidental meditation did not start at this point).
I got her up, and on the way back through the lounge room opened up iTunes and put our entire iTunes library on random play. This is always an adventure; with Susie being a professional actor/voice artist and me being an amateur musician (unless it is the HR department at work that’s asking) our library doesn’t just feature music, but also involves a lot of random documentary, advertising and corporate reads of Susie’s that she’s sourced for her voice demo, as well as a whole bunch of random, poorly conceived, and poorly mixed ‘Garage Band’ tracks that I have (de)composed (until I accidentally blew up the headphone jack), and some sound effects that I have downloaded over the years for inclusion in the more ‘conceptual’ of the aforementioned tracks. When you add to this the fact that genre-wise our collection features everything from old school hip hop to Playschool favourites then you are starting to get a sense of how downright bizarre the mix can be.
Anyway, to the surreal soundtrack of ‘Fight the Power’, followed by Susie voicing a Jetstar ad, followed by ‘Yucky Mucky Nappy’ (a personal favourite) I tried to get Kitty to eat some corn thins and chunks of roasted pumpkin in her high chair, while the onion slowly ‘caramelised’ on the stove. The fact that she was teething, however, meant that she was in no mood for anything that required chewing, and so opted to skip straight to dessert (aka a bottle of formula). Now I don’t know if you have every tried to put three level scoops of formula into a bottle while holding a screaming baby and trying to stop onion from moving from brown to black, but it’s not quite as fun as it sounds, and certainly not conducive to a meditative state (though it is conducive to clumps of undissolved formula).
It was, however, right in the middle of this chaos that ‘Yucky, Mucky Nappy’ ended, and the library chose to follow it up with a track called ‘Breath Visualisations’. Let me explain.
About 5 years ago, Susie and I decided that we wanted to do a meditation class together, and after a bit of googling we came across a free four week course run by the Melbourne Sri Chinmoy Centre (yeah, I’d never heard of this particular guru either, but if you want a sense of the man, his three main interests are meditation, music and marathons – I kid you not). Now I had tried meditation before with mixed results, but had never really done proper guided meditation in a group, and was amazed by the power of the experience. In fact, we were both so inspired by the course that at the end we bought one of the Sri Chinmoy CDs so that we could continue to meditate at home, and loaded it onto our iTunes library to make sure it happened regularly… Needless to say, I probably haven’t listened to either ‘Breath Visualisations’ (19:55) or the killer second track ‘Aum Mantra’ (28:54) for at least 3 years, 6 months and 17 days.
Anyway, by the time the flute kicked in (1:45) I had settled myself into a chair in front of the stove, a now very content baby on my knee, sucking rhythmically on the bottle of formula, held at the optimal angle in my left hand, while in my right a wooden spoon did smooth figure-eights through the onion. It was at that moment, in the intersection of Kitty’s rhythmic sucking, the hypnotic swirling spoon and Sri Chinmoy’s soulful flute stylings, that I discovered AM.
My mind slowly left my body and surfed a perfect alpha wave back through time and space to the serene, candle-lit cocoon of contemplation that was Fitzroy Library’s Meeting Room 1 (except, of course, when someone shifted in their seat and the motion sensor activated fluoros came back on).
Luckily, Matt’s Napoli recipe calls for the onions to be cooked for 15 whole minutes, so by the time I reached step 4 (Add garlic. Simmer for 3 minutes.) I had pretty much reached Sahaja Samadhi (aka Inseparable Oneness with the Supreme). And the onions had pretty much reached Inseparable Oneness with the Scanpan.