If you are coming to this new without seeing yesterdays post, then go back to that post (here) and read that first, it won’t make much sense otherwise. If you are just here wanting some Oyster Card holders or want to talk about the design and marketing, these posts go off on tangents, far away from the printing of PVC products, so please head back to the home page, or drop us a call.
If you’re here for entertainment, then read on McDuff!
So, spoiler alert first! If you are going to go to one of these ‘Vipassana’ courses, look away now.
The last day you don’t meditate, you are free to talk and discuss the experience with the people you have sat with, in silence, for 9 days. When we were told this we went crazy. Before explaining what happened, I forgot to mention, under no circumstances can you touch anyone ele. Also, men are totally separate to women and don’t cross paths at all.
Now, on hearing the news, still in our ‘man group’ we all looked around, searching deep into the wanting irises of each fellow comrad for acknowledgement that they had felt the same. Looking around congratulating each, without speech. Our ‘guru’ finished his explanation that we must still not touch and talking must be calm, quiet and slow, we broke free into the outside. Each of our knew we could speak, but didn’t. Slowly, a murmur came from 1 of the 40 or so men, then another, then the murmur became an audible word. Then, like a kid feeling he was missing out on the party, I spoke, randomly, without thought, at some unwitting man. He smiled. We hugged. Everyone hugged, the murmur turned to ‘normal’ noise, then to a slight din, then to a full out combusting melody of emotion, made verbal. The hugs, handshakes and 500 word/minute conversations were all about how the other was feeling, how they had been, what they did ‘outside’. We each had an innate need to re-find community, to rekindle connection, to become again, human.
Much to the annoyance of the ‘guru’, of course. He was pissed!
Ignoring him, politely, everyone went to the mess for food and drinks and continued. I went to speak to the guru. I had important reasons why the final day spent in London would be incredibly useful for me, personally. I had accepted that this wasn’t possible originally and signed up to the course knowingly, but given the final day was not in any way to develop you further I felt to leave was a better idea.
Again, Mr Guru was pissed.
He explained this wasn’t possible and everyone must finish the course. I explained the situation, in fairness, embellishing somewhat to ensure my leave was granted, but he remained adamant.
Again, I explained my feelings and he refused to let me go.
Now, normally I’d have punched him, but I’m in a Buddhist-type environment and that’s frowned upon, apparently. I ask for 30 minutes to meditate on it and reschedule a ‘chat’. The meditation confirms my thoughts – I’m grateful for the time, immeasurably, but I don’t feel I should be detained against my will, that’s not cool.
Again, he says no. I explain that I can simply walk out. He explains he has them locked away and I can’t have access.
Now, that’s just rude. Again, normally, I’d knock him out. But I’m calm as a Hindu cow and the most aggressive I can get at this moment is a smile a hug and a playful punch on the shoulder, but I want out!
After discussions with 2 other official people they agree to let me go, with one condition, that I don’t tell anyone and spend the next 2 hours while they arrange transport (they didn’t like my idea of hitching to the train station) hiding in a dark room.
Two hours go by and I am allowed to leave, in the back of a white van. The van is parked up and I have to dart from the side door of the mansion into the back. My bags are already in there and I just need to make the leap.
Have you ever seen chitty-chitty-bang-bang? Where the child catcher tempts the kids into the wagon with sweets and shuts the door, leading them to an apparently lifetime of servitude? Well, that’s what it felt like. I hated that child catcher.
Weird as it was, I’m alive. And all the better for it.
So, once again James, what the hell has this to do anything. Well, bring it back to my post yesterday, all workers here now meditate. I didn’t force them on a 10 day retreat and they haven’t been bundled in the back of a van, but they have been able to experience a glimpse of that which I did for 10 days – clarity and bliss.
While at work we have seen a happier group, working better together and with less company politics. There is a general ease within the workplace and the process of designing, printing and shipping the Oyster card holders seems, at least, to run smoother.
Coincidentally, the week after our first session and we had an enquiry from a Buddhist centre. A month later an actual Vipassana centre called, but in the end didn’t place and order for Oyster Card Holders, instead opting for a passport holder to give to international students.
I’m not saying the meditation has helped our business in being more successful, but it’s made the community here work more as a unit. We feel more of a family and everyone feels closer to each other.
Connections between people, between frogs, between caterpillars or between young chaps and angry gurus are all important and need to be forged strong, now more than every.
If you are interested in meditation, you could join us for a session. If you are tempted by the 10 day Vipasanna then be careful – it is ‘culty’, but if you take it for what it can give you positively, then go for it. It can change your life.
In the meantime, we’re waiting for your call to Gill or Sophie and the rest of us are ready to help create the perfect product, for your perfect campaign.
Until then, namaste.