Yesterday I needed to release a bit of anxious tension and escape my apartment (aka. the place where everything is breaking. My washing machine is broken. My email was broken. My hot water system is leaking. My internet is non-existent and therefore broken. My ability to find work is broken.) So my first stop was the CornerHouse – a cool gallery/film/café/bookshop space which has been my ‘go-to’ on several desperate occasions. Here you can find relatively reliable cake – something that is extremely important when you are me. I looked at the digital film currently in the exhibition space and then had a cup of tea and a raspberry ‘friand’ at a table that was magically lit by the sun spasmodically. It wasn’t really a friand because if it was it would have been smaller and oval instead of round, but it was delicious and it made my life better through sugar.

After filling myself with sweetness, I went for a wander through Manchester and headed to the Manchester Buddhist Centre in the Northern Quarter. I had read about their drop-in meditation sessions on Tuesday nights and decided it would be a good way to get me into a more ‘zen’ state. I had contemplated attending meditation sessions before but had always come up with an excuse not to go. This excuse usually revolved around me not being enough of a hippy and not smelling like incense. But I am in a “must try new things” mode at the moment where I am forcing myself to do things I would normally avoid. I am hoping this will eventually lead to me making some friends. So I went. And it was brilliant.

When I first arrived it was like walking into a hippy zone with lots of beads and incense sticks and hemp material, but I soon realised that hippy-ish people are REALLY friendly and welcoming so I was instantly invited inside, spoken to and made to feel at home. Soon the waiting area filled with people for the drop-in class and I was amazed to see so many people of such different walks of life. Young, old, casual-clothed, business-dressed, hairy, clean cut. Everyone was there. The meditation room was packed and everyone seemed really relaxed and excited about the hour of meditation that we had ahead of us.

The teacher was a gentle and well spoken man who carefully explained what would happen and it was so easy to follow along. There were plenty of other beginners in the class as well as people who must be regulars. The session involved deep breathing exercises and positive thought and I left the class feeling lighter, happier and more positive about myself and life in general. I plan on going to these classes on a regular basis and hopefully becoming a much more well-rounded and zen person.

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