Being Awake – for 3 minutes at least

John Lewis on Saturday morning. Business as usual for most. Not all though. Some of us are searching for meaning not a bargain. Eight of us at any rate. We are gathered together in the Community Room, a small space JL makes available free of charge to charities and local groups. Today The School of Economic Science has booked it to give us mind shoppers a shot of practical philosophy. 150 minutes on Being Awake.

A woman I met at a wedding in France over the summer suggested I look up the school and a google search had thrown back this meeting. A morning spent talking about wisdom and awareness fits in with my personal quest for purpose.

I’m also interested in who actually comes to sessions like these. Two very nice ladies are returnees from last Saturday’s taster session. Definitely seniors. White hair with a set look only achieved by a visit to a salon. In slacks. Fragrant – I detect lilies. A mother tells us she persuaded her teenage daughter to skip a Michael Jackson dance class for this. Later during the coffee break I hear another lady talk about “one’s fallibility and the meaning of life”. Heavy matter for elevenses.

Our tutor seems chilled, sorted, what I expected. He explains the Greek translation behind the word Philosophy – Love of Wisdom. How evocative. I’m already feeling responsive to that field of knowledge. He leads us on a 3 minute exercise that takes us to an awake state. It’s very effective and he urges us to grab 3 minutes whenever we can.

He sets us homework. Next time we find ourselves with a dilemma, stop and think “What would a wise person do here and now.
We file out of class, past shelves of stock and rails of ladies fashion. More awake than we were before we entered.

Later on returning home I find our car has a big dent where my husband miscalculated his exit from a multi-story. I channel the wise person and scarcily react.

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