“It sounds complicated and difficult”, Ingerid replies skeptically. She can’t help thinking about the situation with Sara and Silje and the words that just fell out of her mouth in defence.
“It might sound difficult now, but with the exercises you’ve learned you’ll see that your awareness muscle will expand and sort of turn down the pace for you. It becomes almost like you’ve hit a slow-motion button. Time will seem to stretch itself as if it was bendable”, Per explains and laughs at the thought.
With bright shimmering eyes he continues:
“In this slow-motion time, you’ll eventually discover several levels of information”.
Ingerid gives him a serious and doubtful look.
“Don’t look at it that way”, Per responds in a playful way pushing her shoulder lightly.
“See it as an exciting Universe that you’re about to discover. Find the adventurous part of yourself, the one that is full of curiosity and eagerness. The one that dives deep into the ocean looking for gold and diamonds”, Per says with a theatrical voice totally in line with the pictures that are adorning the wall behind him.
Ingerid laughs and feels relieved by his humour and his knowledge of the path ahead of her.
“What got you into meditation?”, Ingerid asks curiously as the waitress arrives with two large cups of hot chocolate garnished with freshly whipped cream.
“Mmmm….”, Per replies and looks at the tempting cup in front of him. He takes a sip of the cocoa and with a cream-mustache he says playfully:
“Now, let me tell you….”
His comedic voice and silliness makes them both giggle.
“Sorry, I can’t seem to be serious for longer periods at a time”, Per replies and laughs apologetically.
But then he seems to take her question into deeper consideration. He pauses for a moment as his face melts into honesty. Then he starts his story:
“Some time ago, my dad died”, he begins gently.
Ingerid looks at him with sad and compassionate eyes.
“No, it wasn’t that sad. Or… The actual sad part about it was that I didn’t feel a big sorrow. I didn’t mourn his loss”, he adds.
“One is supposed to feel sadness and grief when a family member dies, right? But I didn’t feel it. It almost felt like it could’ve been just anybody who died” he says and halts for a moment to think.
“You weren’t close to each other?”, Ingerid asks carefully and a little afraid that this conversation might end in tears. She turns around and lets out a slight sigh of relief when she sees that the coffee shop isn’t filled with a lot of people in case of an embarrassing scene.
“We were both close and not close at the same time. I mean…. I think we had a pretty normal relationship. I saw him probably four or five times a year and we talked a little every time… But he was never the talkative guy. He never asked any questions. I think he might have been a little afraid to ask about something that could potentially upset me. And then I think he was never able to accept my sexuality. It alienated me I guess”, Per says thoughtfully like he’s still trying to figure it out and understand him.
Ingerid gives him a warm smile and nods. He looks up at her, returns the smile and looks down again. After a short silence he continues.
“Anyhow. That’s what caused me to get in touch with a therapist who recommended meditation. Since then I’ve taken several meditation workshops. In the beginning I did it mostly to try and understand my dad. Then I did it to try to understand myself. But then after a while I felt like words became redundant and that an inner peace was revealing itself instead. I realized that I could dig deeper and deeper in an attempt to try to understand, but that the digging could go on forever, giving me different approaches and answers every time. With that realization, an answer appeared. I could search if I wanted to for words that would give me some sort of answer, but it would never quench the thirst inside. Because what I was really searching for was deeper than words”, he says ending the story with a warm smile.
Ingerid doesn’t know what to say. Silence takes the space instead and lets his words sink in. They sit in silence for a little while before Ingerid feels an uncomfortable restlessness. She isn’t quite sure she understands the point of his story.
“What is about this peace that you keep referring to?” she asks a little confused and puzzled.
“Oh, if you haven’t felt it, I cannot explain. It has to be experienced”, Per says softly with compassion.
“By the way: There’s something you should know that they didn’t talk about at the workshop. There are two kinds of experiences of silence. One could be described as cold. As if time has frozen to ice. This silence or stillness is often referred to as shock. Out of body experience. As if disappearing into a black hole that sucks all life into itself. Emptiness without life if you’d like”, he says and inhales as if preparing for an attack or trying to defend himself from something unknown.
“Then there’s the other experience of silence which is warm. Ever expanding and full. Like a mother’s warm embrace. Nurturing. A stillness that feels good throughout your entire body and that makes you want to stay in it forever. Like an alive presence”, Per explains while looking like he’s enjoying a warm hug with every word he shares. He then takes a closer look at Ingerid’s face to see if she’s following.
“If you’re uncertain whether you’re moving in the right direction, there’s a simple technique that’ll point you straight back. It’s simply smiling”, he says and laughs while reaching out his hand towards the waitress in order to ask for the bill.
“I think I got a little taste of that at the workshop we went to”, Ingerid says with a slight uncertainty.
“I felt this enormous silence filling the room for at least a few seconds”, she continuous.
“Well, then you’re on your way”, Per replies and smiles.
“When you’ve first had a taste of it, the thirst for more will drive you onwards”, he adds while wiping his mouth with a napkin after a huge mouthful of the hot chocolate which is now starting to get cold.
“Drive me towards what?”, Ingerid asks puzzled.
“Nobody knows”, he replies with a huge smile and a wink.
“I’m going to a concert tonight with some friends. Do you want to come?”, he asks while paying the bill on the table.
“Yes, I’d love to”, Ingerid replies remembering the plans she originally had with Sara and Silje. Those plans are definitely out the window after what happened in the cantina earlier, so she might as well do something different.
“Who’s playing?”, she asks curiously while putting on her coat.
“Deva Premal & Miten” he says on his way out of the coffee shop.
She gives him that puzzled look again.
“They do old Indian mantras in a modern way… It’s sort of hard to explain. Again, you’ll just have to experience it for yourself”, he says smilingly and laughs.
“Ok, I’m in!”, Ingerid replies with a big smile and gives him a long warm hug. They linger in each others arms for a while. Ingerid feels like she’s starting to appreciate these long hugs more and more. It’s like giving a little extra time to each other in order to really feel the warmth and the good feelings between them.
“So, I’ll see you at the Logen Teater at 8pm then” he says warmly and walks back to his enchanted flower shop.
… to be continued…