The continuing story of Zen Librarian at a meditation workshop..... So there I was, in Salou, tearing myself away from a gorgeous beach - I could meditate there all day! - to head to the Portaventura fun park, for the workshop registration. I like being punctual and apparently so did 850 other people. The queue snaked through the lobby of the building and the room was full of happy chatter. Amazingly, the chatter was still happy after 3 hours! Perhaps because a previous life saw me as an event manager, my mood had sunk to icy levels by now... WTF was going on? Finally the desks opened, and I am welcomed to my team, Cereza, and greeted by Don, the team leader. He hands me a badge, and some workshop goodies. "El Camino Real" is printed on the meditation blanket. You have to be kidding me! Who had just walked the real camino? And it didn't take a week in a fun park in Salou! At 6.30pm the first session finally starts with an introduction by the man himself: Joe Dispenza. He looked fit, about my age, energetic, a man on a mission, and he speaks for an hour about the week's program, and that was it. Over a home-cooked dinner - I didn't know it would be my last of the week - and a glass of vino tinto, my Camino friend pointed out a bit sourly that today counted as a whole day of the 7 day workshop. Hmmm.
The next morning, up at 5am, 6 am I'm reporting for duty! The small fiche I receive at the door says "INTUITIVE" on it. Why? Is that me? The room is full of people dancing to "I got a feeling" and other upbeat songs. Multi-coloured lights are flashing over the crowd. I am not a morning person and sit down. Joe appears on stage and dances along with the crowd for a minute and then we all calm down a bit. We start with a lecture. The theme is our relation with our environment. We are victims of our environment and use it as an excuse to feel bad; we often blame other people in our life for our own unhappiness: parents, colleagues, siblings, ex-spouses, etc. To help ourselves, we need to take responsibility for our own happiness and 'do the work', says Joe. The work is to "sit in your discomfort", and get yourself into the present moment so that you can get beyond yourself. And then we meditate, and I am finally in my comfort zone. With beautiful music Joe guides us into "the void" where I become no-body, no-thing, no-where in no time. Then comes the announcement that the Cereza team will be the first to embark on 'The Challenge'. Joe presents it as something quite serious. We are getting special early lunch privileges and are waved off by the whole congregation with loud music and lots of cheering on. I am not scared. I am pretty fit, and he won't do anything scary, the group is too big and diverse for this. I enjoy my lunch and get on the bus. The others are not so sure, like Judy, who has severe anxiety issues, and Dave, who broke several neck vertebrae in an accident and can't move his left leg and arm. The nervous anticipation makes it feel a bit like a school trip. We listen to a special meditation on the 20-minute journey. Joe's voice urges us to find calmness, believe in ourselves, and breathe... I still am not cottoning on to what this is all about, until we step off the bus. Then I finally get a reality check. OMG, this is a real challenge! TO BE CONTINUED