Finding Meaning

Tiny particles of cinnamon swirled through the air around her, pulling her into a scented, Fantasia-like dream. She began to drift away—far away, to the most nebulous of states—and felt the strength of the oneiric vacuum increase as she approached. Entering required an official signature, a ‘no-return policy’, a promise with the universe that could never be broken. Should she stay or should she go? The Clash. Literally—between two worlds. Although a fan of British punk rock, she didn’t care for the lyrics, hated making decisions, choosing, eliminating possibilities. It was all so… finite. The cinnamon was falling faster now, diving into the funnel that led to everything ethereal. 

A light bulb exploded, and she became conscious again of this world. Reality, she scoffed. What was that? Shattered glass covered the carpet. It was a mess, that’s what. And that dim-witted poltergeist, always messing with her, destroying a perfectly good meditation. She sighed, repeating her mantra: Everything happens for a reason. Believe the words, internalize them. She curled up on the couch, not believing, not internalizing, not feeling. The breaking point had arrived—overindulge in Brie cheese, crackers, and strong wine, or do something—as in, productive, worthwhile, meaningful. She desperately craved meaning in her life. While imagination would always guide her, this vicarious living in fantastical worlds merely exacerbated the situation.

Opening the door with purpose, she marched confidently up to the desk. A whiff of incense passed by her nostrils, and she zeroed in on the source: Skinny bamboo twigs. She watched, distracted, as the smoke twisted around a small Buddha statue, curly-cue style, much like the Hindi letters on a nearby sign. Ten minutes later, she was there. That is, literally speaking, though perhaps not quite yet ‘present’ in the ontological sense—but at the very least, situated on her mat. 

The lights dimmed. A woman in her thirties, evidently the master yogi, began with a soft exhalation. She followed along, closing her eyes, connecting with the universe. Slowly, the airways opened. She was breathing. How long had it been since she last took a breath? A real breath? Too long. Her body flowed along with the motions, leg forward, arms upward, lunge, repeat. Upward dog and then downward dog, accompanied by other fancy unidentifiable sounds in… was it Sanskrit? It felt old, grounded in something with a history, something real, something meaningful. Her body emptied itself of the toxins, of the apathy that had tried to destroy her soul, and a joy emerged in its place, imprinting a permanent smile on her heart. The ecstasy directed her walk; she was floating, really floating. With purpose.