The Pursuit of Zen

Watching her move from one bizarre pose to another, the young lady had a sense that this pretty woman could possibly know the recipe to the secret sauce of Zen.

  • PublishedMarch 30, 2012

Watching her move from one bizarre pose to another, the young lady had a sense that this pretty woman could possibly know the recipe to the secret sauce of Zen. “Um, excuse me Ma’am”, the young lady approached timidly. Bent over with her tailbone pointing upwards and her arms and legs extended opposite directions, the pretty woman glanced up, emitting a flicker of agitation.

“Sorry to disturb you, but may I ask you a question?” The pretty woman slowly straightened her body to a standing position, curiously eyeing the young lady who had the nerve to disrupt her. “Um…I, er, was watching you and admiring how calm and peaceful you look when twisting your body like that. Where does one learn how to do what you’re doing?” The pretty woman told her about a studio in the neighborhood that offered free classes. “Oh, splendid! So I can go there and learn how to achieve Zen for free?” The pretty woman simply smiled politely and went on with her bending Zen-like activities.

Ok then, the young lady thought, my conquest awaits me in this studio. And it is free, sweet deal! In no less than twenty minutes she had located the studio and as luck would have it, she was just in time for a class. “The Universe really does want me to find Zen today!” she exclaimed to the bemused receptionist. Soon enough the young lady found herself sitting on a mat, impatiently awaiting instructions on how to twist and turn her limbs and thereby attain Zen in a room full of barefooted strangers.

Turns out that contortion is not only far from simple and Zen-like, it is, in fact, downright painful. How can one achieve Zen when all you can feel is your burning, quivering thigh muscles? “You want me to do what with my limbs?” she yelled at the perky instructor. “You expect my body to do that? Are you insane? What, clearly far from Zen-like planet are you crazy people from?”

In a loud huff of exasperation, she collected her sweaty, shaking body and plodded her way out of the studio. Experiencing muscle spasms in parts of her body she didn’t even know existed, the exhausted young lady took a minute to rest her poor, mistreated body on a sidewalk bench, while deciding upon the next move.

We can definitely rule out that body twisting rubbish, she thought, cursing the evidently malicious, and actually not-so-pretty, contortionist woman in the park.

As she plotted a new route for her mission an old man hobbling along with a cane approached the sidewalk bench. “Excuse me young lady, is this seat taken?” Irritated by this disturbance and the sound of his raspy voice, she shook her head, barely acknowledging the old man as he squeaked “Al right then!” After a couple of minutes the young lady noticed out of the corner of her eye that the old man was just sitting there. Motionless. Staring into oblivion. Is he catatonic, she wondered? Is this how old people behave before they keel over and die? Should she be dialing 911?

“Sir? Are you OK?” “Why? Of course I am young lady!” the old man answered in a raspy voice, emitting a peculiarly cute, yet creepy, toothless grin. “Are you OK?”

“Well”, she sighed, “To be honest, I’m a little frustrated. See I’ve made it my mission to find Zen and this notso- pretty heinous woman in the park tricked me into thinking I could find it by learning how to contort my body into excruciating positions! Turns out there was definitely no Zen to be found, just agony and time wasted!”

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