And quick on the heels of this wonderful approximation of an appreciation of emptiness, my physical self makes a speech...."Oh man, I showered so fast, I still have shampoo bubbles in my ears: the tickling is driving me crazy. I will not rub my ears, will not rub my ears, eventually, the tickling will stop, yes, it will, don't rub your ears...Gee, it's chilly in here today," "My back hurts", "I wonder if the AC is lower than usual--and how funny, because I'm usually stifling in groups where someone always demands a higher temperature because THEY'RE cold". I am SO hungry--why didn't I bring lunch with me to Warm Mineral Springs, gee, I bet that basil would be nice in a frittata."
And so forth, until I say to myself, enough, enough, put my mind back on track, remember how good it felt to just be, oh, there is that lovely space again, see everything is just fine--
and at that moment, I'm overcome with a shiver so immediate, so violent, rippling up my spine, actually shaking its way up my neck, chattering my teeth in a great big BRRRR!--- I nearly slide off my bench with the force of it. Like a sneeze that you don't see coming--and are completely powerless to contain.
And for some reason, this strikes me as funny, and I start to giggle, and I can't stop. But I don't want to make any noise, so I'm not laughing out loud, but oh, I am laughing inside, the silliness of it all so huge that it's got tears literally squirting from the sides of my eyes. I squeeze them shut as hard as I can and try, try to calm down, but every time I think about that shiver, so unexpected and the way it almost knocked me off the bench, I start to laugh all over again.
My stomach is trembling from the shaky breath of laughter that has nowhere to go, and the force of keeping it inside. I can't stop. Should I get up and leave? Impossible--before I get to the outside room where we drop our shoes, I'll be laughing hysterically, fully and out loud. Assuming I could even get up without becoming hopelessly entangled in my bench--ohgod I can see that happening, staggering around, falling over things, whooping like a nut for no discernable reason. Nope, gotta stay put.
Then I remember that shiver again and this gigantic laughter wells up inside and threatens to spill into the nearly-silent zendo. like thunder, lightning, the splashing of a torrential rain. Oh, dear.
I say to me, "breathe, breathe and let that thought go," and for maybe 30 seconds all is well, and then it starts all over again. I'm glad that this time, my monkey mind has fastened on hilarity rather than pain, but it would be nice to let go of this, too, because I'm still shaking and the tears are streaming down my face, and whatever this is, it probably ain't meditation.
And that goes on until the bell rings, and we rise and I feel the laughter etched into the corners of my mouth. The lightness of spirit that comes from being in at the birth of a truly great joke.
Oh yeah, I think, this is why, one of the reasons, why, I'm here.