I have a funny little story to share.
Our church has been going through some transitions lately and while we have no intentions of leaving, we have always talked about exploring other religions. So we’re taking this opportunity to check out a Buddhist Center. We took the kids last week for a family introduction to “What is Buddhism”. It was very interesting and I think we could all benefit and learn from Buddhist teachings. A nice compliment to my current religion and beliefs.
This week the service was more adult oriented so Brian took the kids and MJ and I went for the meditation service. I was a bit nervous about the whole meditation thing. I just don’t know how to quiet my mind sometimes. I know it’s something that requires much training and practice to be good at so it’s good for me to go and try this out.
We get to the center a few minutes before the start of the service. The room is not very big. I found a picture online so you can see how smal the space is:
The row on the right side only had 2 chairs in each. Also, the chairs didn’t actually go back that far. There was a space for people who wanted to sit on the floor. There is also a space in front of these chairs before the alter where you can also sit on the floor.
There were 2 chairs in the same row left on the right side when we got in. I think the only 2 seats left together, so we sat there.
There was a heavyset man sitting behind us. He was alone in his row.
He was a heavy breather.
Here’s where I have to stop the story and try to explain something.
I have Misophonia.
What is that? I’m sure you’re asking.
It is a rare sound disorder. The name literally means “hatred of sound”. Anyone that knows me knows I love music and I couldn’t possibly “hate” sound. I don’t. It’s just certain sounds that I hate. I know we all have sounds that annoy us. I do too. This is not like that. When I hear a trigger sound, it throws me into a fit of internal rage. It’s bad. I need the sound to stop and I need it to stop immediately. My trigger sounds, like most Misophonia suffers, tend to be mouth sounds. Chewing, smacking, heavy breathing. I sometimes can’t even eat with my kids. They chew loud and talk with mouths full which results in smacking. Makes me crazy. If you snap gum around me? I could cut you.
Wanna learn more? Look it up or check out this webpage. It has links and videos:
Do You Have Misophonia?
So you know where this is going, right?
The buddhist nun came out and started the service with a meditation session.
I sat up straight in my chair and made myself comfortable. I closed my eyes. Listening to her message of clearing the mind I tried to think of the sounds of the surf. But all I could hear was the sucking sounds of Mr. McBreathy behind me. I concentrated even harder but it just made the wind tunnel suck even louder. And it wasn’t just that he breathed loudly he had some kind of lip smacking, guttural throat sound happening too. It was a Misophonia nightmare. I was screaming so loud in my head I was sure it was going to leak out and the nun would either kick me out or use me as some kind of horrible example of meditation. I told myself there was a reason I was the one who was sitting in front of this hell and tried to work with it. I tried to train my mind to block out the noise and be like a normal person. I did have a few moments of clarity. Maybe seconds. The rest of the time I dug my fingernails into my arm and bit my lip as tears streamed down my face. I would’ve rather had to hold a spider for that meditation.
Once it was over the nun lead us in a chat/song/prayer for world peace. Oh, that’ll be nice! Yes, let’s get the music going!
Um, yeah, dude can’t sing either. And it’s not that he couldn’t sing, he just had a really creepy voice. I don’t even know how to describe it. He would drop words while he gasped a huge breathe of air and then come back in much louder than anyone else in the room. Lips smacking between verses. Arghh! OK, at least this wasn’t quite as bad as the meditation? Maybe?
Once the nun started the discussion I was pretty much gone. I was crumpled in my seat wishing a plane would just hit the building. By this point it was so loud in my ear I was convinced that he was not only doing it on purpose but that he had some kind of amazing technology that was amplifying the sound just to my ears.
Durring the discussion (kinda like the sermon), he started talking. Repeating words or phrases that spoke to him. He was the only one in the room doing this and it didn’t seem quite like a Buddhist thing to do. More like a Southern Baptist. So he’s a Buddhist Baptist? A Buptist?
Poor MJ. She just wanted to enjoy this. About halfway through the discussion along with my fidgeting, nail digging and crying, she went into her purse and handed me the car key. I didn’t want to ruin this experience for her, but I was determined to get through this. One of the reasons for being there is to learn how to clear your mind and I’m going to do that! Yeah, right. Besides, I didn’t want to offend the nun or bother anyone else by getting up to leave. So I sat and concentrated on not crying or reaching back and jamming the car key down that guys throat.
Once the nun finished the lesson, she stated we would be finishing the service with another meditation. The words barely left her mouth and I was up and out the door. No way. Not again. I just couldn’t do it.
I went in the hallway and looked at all the different Buddhas on the shelves and walls. Once I calmed myself enough, I decided I would try and sneak in to the front and sit on the floor. Once I crept back in I realized I wouldn’t be able to do that without disturbing someone. So I stood in the corner by the doorway. I felt weird standing there while everyone was meditating so I knelt down on the floor. The room was fairly quiet yet I swore I could still hear grizzly snort from the back of the room.
I would hear normal little noises every now and then. Bt then I hear someone’s stomach growl and that made me laugh a little until my own bowls decided to betray me.
Here’s where I have to stop the story again and explain something else.
As most of you know, I have a colostomy. His name is Chewbacca and he’s been a little talkative lately. I’ve started eating more plant based foods and well, it makes Chewy speak. You can’t control a stoma. It goes when it goes and that includes wind.
Again, you know where this is going, right?
I had been clutching my side for most of the service knowing that it could happen at any time. Putting pressure on my bag will sometimes muffle it enough so that no one notices.
As I was crouched down on that floor, the nun started to speak to bring everyone back from meditation, and as I started to sit up, my side unclenched… I farted.
I swear I think the nun cracked a little smile.
I made my way back to my original chair next to MJ. Let another little air bubble out.
OMG GET ME OUT OF HERE. I just wanted to run to the car and scream.
Once the nun left, MJ and I just looked at each other and didn’t even have to say anything.
We skipped the reception they had afterwards, quickly grabbed our shoes and beelined for the car. We got in and laughed. She said she didn’t hear my fart, but it was her stomach that was growling.
Hopefully we’ll be allowed to come back.