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Schwager, E. (2005). The Woman Who Mistook the Meditation Class for Her Destination. Psychoanal. Dial., 15(2):153-155.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 15(2):153-155

The Woman Who Mistook the Meditation Class for Her Destination

Elaine Schwager, Ph.D.

THE EVENT THAT INSPIRED THE POEM THAT FOLLOWS THIS introduction occurred during a meditation session in Mannie's Buddhism and Psychoanalysis class. Someone rang the bell insistently several times to gain entrance to the building. True to our teacher's instructions, the whole class stayed in our meditative state, treating the event as “just another passing thought to be reacted to with neither aversion nor interest.” For some period of time, no one responded to the bell or got up to answer it. The person ringing persisted till Mannie buzzed her in. Once in, she came up the elevator and knocked insistently at his door. While Mannie got up to see to the knocking, the rest of us stayed seated in the meditation, silent and nonreactive, hearing the exchange on the periphery of our minds. The woman was looking for an address the same as Mannie's but on another street.

The random event seemed a test of a way of being that we were trying to integrate through this class—one that, through the experience of meditating, gave no preference to the external or internal, the strange or familiar, the positive or negative, but held us steady in our common breath. Through meditating, we were being made more aware of our conditioned responses. We were also noticing how our habitual responses, both in thinking and acting, tied us to false views of our selves and reality, interfering with accessing our direct experience and a greater experience of inner freedom.


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