A Millennial Attends a One-Day Meditation Workshop: The First 23 Minutes, As Imagined by a Gen-Xer By Josh Trapani


Wow, 8 minutes in and I’m pulsing with gratitude, equanimity, and pins and needles in my left foot. Maybe I should leave my job and become a Zen monk. It’s almost like– wait, is that my phone? It’s probably Morgan. The meditation leader said to turn our phones off. She was trying to increase our natural joyfulness, right? I haven’t laughed so hard in years.

Only another 7 hours and 52 minutes sitting silently in this uncomfortable position doing absolutely nothing. Then I can share enlightenment with my friends, followers, and connections. I feel the spiritual community, the — what did meditation lady call it? — oh yeah, the sanka, permeating my spirit. Just like the damp, chilly, honestly sort of rank air in this church basement … or that coffee stuff my grandparents like.

I bet it was Morgan, because it couldn’t be Ethan, could it? Not after what he said on Facebook about polyamorous demisexuals who still live with their parents. That was not OK!

I need to focus on my breath, my body, the present moment. But, it’s alright, I’m practicing nonjudging awareness. I’ll meet my ruminations with compassion. And kindness. Like a smile spreading through a big blue sky. Or a post going viral. My post.

Honored to spend today practicing mindfuln– No. What about: Deeply grateful for the privilege of touching my inner … Yuck. Feeling blessed after 8 hours of spiritual contempla– Ugh.

I need a photo. Me meditating. Like an Instagram Buddha. With, like, a cool filter.

It’s bizarre, I never realized how to be present until now. I mean now. No, now. Ha, this is clever! I should put it on Fa– … never mind.

Nevermind. Nirvana — ha again! Reminds me of preschool days. How nostalgic. And ironic. I should pos– no, focus on now. Now!

My photo needs a hashtag. #MeditationSelfie! It’ll trend globally. Even the Dalai Lama will participate. Is he online? I need to check, once I get out of here in … 7 hours and 46 minutes. I should follow his Twitter. It’s good to support people like him. Racism is not OK!

My left foot is totally asleep. And, 15 minutes in, I haven’t reached nirvana yet. Maybe I should quit and go do something else.

Is that my phone again? I can’t believe Morgan met this guy in her improv group, thought he was cute, then saw him on Tinder. Talk about karma! I hope she texted an emoticon about their date, or at least pics of her food.

Unless it wasn’t her. Unless it was Ethan. OMG. Not OK!

I need to pay attention to my body. My breathing. The one foot I can still feel.

One foot, hmm. What’s the sound of one foot clapping? If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, what noise does it make? If you do something moderately admirable without humblebragging online, did you really do it? (And if less than 10 people like your humblebrag, was it worth doing?)

Am I merely a pawn in a neoliberal system run so amok that self-commodification is required for emotional fulfillment, or do I really like Instagram that much? Gosh, I’ve become so philosophical these last … 18 minutes. I should p– … oh, yeah.

Is that a sneeze coming? Oh no, I need to sneeze! It’ll disturb everyone. I must fight it. No, I should accept it. Not just accept: embrace my sneeze. With compassion. And lovingkindness. My sneeze is OK! My snot will be suffused with metaphysics, or whatever that lady called it.

Oh wait, I don’t have to sneeze after all.

I need to return to my breath. Like that guy who taught Buddha everything — I think she said his name was Tick Hand Nat (what a cruel nickname, Lyme disease is not OK!) — wrote: Do or do not. There is no try. Maybe I could start a meme of that. What JIF would I use? What about my very own #MeditationSelfie!

Remember how I was thinking about now? I barely recognize that stranger from the distant past, 7 minutes ago. I’m a transformed individual, albeit still one who complains constantly about my student loan debt and enjoys strangely juvenile activities like YA novels and coloring books. I’m all about now now. Nirvana? Who needs it? (Seriously, if it doesn’t have an autotuned whoop, it can “Wa-oh-wa-oh” right off my Spotify playlist and make room for another awesome Taylor Swift song that truly reflects who I am at the core of my being.)

Wherever you go, you’re there. Like the book meditation lady mentioned, by that Henry Cabot Lodge guy. That’s a meme-worthy motto. I’m sure Tay-tay would agree. So would Mallory Ortberg. That settles it. I should buy that book. Where did I leave my Kindle?

They’re going to have to amputate my left foot.

OK, quieting my mind. Let contentment fill me. Fill everyone in this church basement not checking their phones. Spread to those drinking the sanka in church basements everywhere. And to all beings, even people who own cars, enjoy phone calls, and stay in the same job for more than three years.

But not Austin, who bullied me on the school bus in 5th grade. Bullying is not OK! And not that lady on the train who said that mean thing to me that one time.

Wow, 23 minutes in. I can’t wait to post about this awesome experi– … oh, and definitely not Ethan, not after what he said on Facebook. NOT OK!