My meditation class is over; it was great, although week three was challenging. It began, as usual, with silence. For days I had been looking forward to sitting in a chair in the middle of an empty Sanctuary and hearing nothing at all. I found a place in the circle, left an empty spot between me and the next person to decrease the chance of distraction, closed my eyes, and focused on my breath. It felt better than a warm bath.
And then I heard it: ssssssh chhhh whooooooo. ssssssh chhhh whooooooo. Over and over again.
The woman next to me was asleep, and snoring. She was also lying on the floor, knees raised and bent and lower legs resting on the seat of a chair in the position assumed by cool, confident meditators who have back problems. Even if I were in pain, I don't think I'd have the guts to be the only upside-down person in a room full of demure normal sitters. I admired the conviction of her individuality, but also wanted to slap a paper bag over her head. No one else seemed to notice the snoring; perhaps I was the only one close enough to hear. I castigated myself for intolerance of the nasally-challenged, and tried to focus. But every time my mind drifted into a zone of peace and calm, the ssssssh chhhh whooooooo, and an occasional snort, jolted me back to reality.