Meditations

By Vikram Kolmannskog

Looking

Ba, my maternal grandma, had a Buddha. She must have noticed that I often looked at him. One day when we were visiting, she gathered all of us — me, my mom, and my dad. We sat in a circle on a carpet on the living room floor. In the middle was Buddha. Ba carefully picked Buddha up and washed him. She did it attentively and lovingly, as if he were a baby, baby Buddha. She said or sang something, maybe mantras. She dried him. And then she handed him to me. I carefully wrapped him in some of my clothes and put him in my suitcase. Back home in Norway, I unpacked and placed him in my bedroom. Now, thirty years later, he is here with me, in the bedroom of my apartment in Oslo. I lie in bed watching him as he sits on the windowsill. His golden body is slender and smooth, a simple robe covering his left shoulder and leaving the right shoulder and chest and arm bare. He sits in a lotus position, in contact with the ground, steady as a mountain. He sits with his back straight. He sits with dignity. His arms and hands are soft and relaxed, resting on his lap and legs. His eyes are half-open; he looks both inward and outward, attentively present here and now. His lips form a slight smile. He knows something. He seems friendly. The morning sun is shining through the window now, touching lips, cheek, nose, eyelids, and forehead. We are smiling. We are shining.

Sitting

I sit like Buddha sits. I just sit. It’s simple. Just sitting means not doing much, not chasing after anything. I can simply be, rather than constantly doing something. It’s simple, but not easy. I need to practice. I need to practice just sitting. I sit with my back straight, alert and dignified. I exhale and relax. I close my eyes. What happens when I just sit? What do I notice? I get lost in thought. But then I notice this and am no longer lost. I hear some sounds. I sense bodily sensations. I discover something about the quality of these phenomena – the thoughts, the sounds, the bodily sensations: that they arise and pass away; that there are some I want and some I don’t want, but they all arise and pass away.

Eating

I bring Buddha an orange. I place it next to him on the windowsill. Buddha and the orange glow golden in the morning sun. I look at them. I think of the components making up the orange: sunlight, rainwater, air, nutrients in the soil. I also imagine the farmer who has cared for the tree, the people who have transported the orange here, the woman in the shop who sold it to me. I pick up the orange, carefully like it’s a baby. I feel its weight in my hand. I notice a navel on the plump little thing. I feel the skin with my fingers. I sense a subtle smell. Then I dig my fingers slightly into the surface and start peeling. A fresh citrus scent. Sticky on my fingers. I loosen a segment. I bite off a bit, the thin skin bursting between my teeth, the bittersweet juice. I chew, spit mixing with the flesh and juice. Sunlight, rainwater, air, soil, the entire cosmos in my mouth. I swallow and sense how it moves down the throat and becomes part of this body.


Becoming Buddha: Meditations

‘Eating’ is an excerpt from Becoming Buddha. In the book we follow Vikram on a meditation journey that includes all of life, everything from sitting to shitting, fucking to fighting, suffering to shining. The slender book also includes meditation guidelines as well as a section with more background information on the meditations and their sources. Becoming Buddha is also available as a podcast and as episodes on the meditation app Insight Timer.


Vikram Kolmannskog is a queer cis-man of dual heritage, with an Indian-origin mother and Norwegian father. He lives in Oslo, Norway, with his partner Daniel. Vikram is a gestalt therapist, supervisor and professor of gestalt therapy at the Norwegian Gestalt Institute. Vikram writes fiction as well as non-fiction. He is the author of The Empty Chair: Tales from Gestalt Therapy; Taste and see: A queer prayer; Lord of the Senses: Stories; and Becoming Buddha: Meditations. Vikram’s website: www.Vikram.no. Vikram’s teacher profile on Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com/vikram.

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