I showed up for jury duty properly dressed. I had even switched from a silk tee to a collared shirt right before I left at 7:45 am. I am a rule follower first. Left brain.
I could recognize the others as we approached the courthouse. Singles not doubles, touting bags filled with distractions. Looking focused on the path to the door. Inside, at 8:30 am, we were corralled into a room not dissimilar to an airport gate. After checking in and receiving $15 cash, compensation for our civic duty, we sat and were made to watch repeatedly a video about best manners and ethics of jury duty. The volume was too loud and slightly fuzzy. After several plays it was highly agitating. Left brain.
Within the first hour a line formed at the vending machines and I decided to take the time to meditate. With my feet flat on the floor, left hand cradling right, thumbs lightly touching and my back straight I breathed in. And then out. Right brain.
Immediately, I relaxed. The man behind me was snoring; the woman beside me leaned very closely towards me as she laughed. I heard office sounds from the desk: telephones ringing, fax beeps, drawers closing. I heard the familiar sounds of unwrapping of candy and the twists and sissts of soda bottles opening. Left brain.
I brought my awareness back to my breath. In for the count of 4, hold for 2 and exhale for 6. Colors of purple, blue and some green swam in my mind’s eye. And then, there I went, chasing colors and breathing oxygen. Right brain.
My monkey mind danced by, incessantly calling out to me: remember when …, aren’t you going to …, don’t you think …? Left brain.
Bringing my awareness back to my breath, I returned to a place of peace and joy. I looked into the colors and found shapes that morphed into faces and on to new shapes. Right brain.
Excuse me, came a voice. I opened my eyes and made myself small so that she could pass more easily. I noted an elderly man across the room watching me. His gaze haunted me as I closed my eyes and breathed. Distracted, anxious and self-conscious I slowly opened my eyes to his. Left brain.
He was across the room, but right with me. While considering the situation, I heard the snoring. I was satisfied; if sleeping and snoring are acceptable so is mediating. With intention, I closed my eyes and my monkey mind ran in front of me shouting and dancing, You were self conscious when you breast-feed your children in public. Over 20 years ago, I countered. My stomach growled and I noticed I was cold. Left brain.
I brought my awareness to the idea of shifting for improved comfort and then I moved. Like coming up for air while swimming. Back down I went to a place I greatly enjoyed being. A place where staying is always and often reconsidered. I thanked my monkey mind for the constant reminder that it is very easy to be distracted. Left brain.