Bad Habits » Karma Cleanser

Karma Cleanser


Dear Karma Cleanser:

Several months back, you gave someone the advice to try Zen meditation. I took the hint and signed up for a meditation class at a yoga center. I was uncomfortable with the idea at first -- you just sit in a room with 10 strangers and stare at the floor -- but I kept going back because of the teacher, Roger. He's in his late 20s and has large puppy dog eyes and a soothing voice that makes my heart melt. Now, every time I go to the class, I spend the entire meditation portion of the evening thinking about how cute Roger is and wondering if he has a girlfriend. He seems to like me, too. I normally stick around and talk to him, and he's always very friendly.

I told one of my girlfriends about him. She said it's not good to spend my meditation hour thinking impure thoughts, and that I should sign up for a different class with a less cute teacher. I took her advice, but now I've stopped meditating altogether. I miss the sense of clarity it gave me. But more than that, I miss Roger.

-- Can't Sit Still

What's your question? Do you need permission from us to be crushed out on your teacher? Shall we criticize your foolish friend for mistaking Western notions of "impure" thinking with Eastern introspection? We will say this: Focusing on your hottie teacher instead of yourself reminds us of Zen Master Hakuin's wisdom about the monkey who mistakes the reflection of the moon in a pool of water for the moon itself. Meditate on that.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

How do you recover from a lost friendship? My friend "Morgan" and I were BFF for almost four years, from junior year of high school until a couple of months ago. We went to college together and were roommates, until it became apparent that we should not live together if we wanted to keep hanging out. After she moved out, things got better. Then she started dating this asshole from Alabama who just wants to smoke weed all the time. Morgan and I kept talking on the phone a lot. Then the phone calls slowed down and now she won't even answer when I send her a text.

My "new" friends tell me that I'm being a baby and that I should get over it. But I'm still kind of really fucked up over the way she treated me. I know this isn't exactly a "karma" question, but I do think this experience will affect my future friendships.

-- Too Young to Be Bitter

Norwegian songbird Ane Brun writes about losing a friend, saying it's "like a fist in my stomach and swallowing tears," which sounds pretty accurate. Ignore your new friends' advice and give yourself the time to grieve the loss. Also know that college is a time of hysterical changes. Those people who once hung the planets suddenly become smaller, and your conversations awkward. Expect the cycle to repeat until sometime in your mid-to-late 20s. It is what it is.

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