I was getting ready to teach a meditation class recently at Moksha Yoga Studio, and was trying to light a candle. I say ‘trying’ because when I open the pack of matches that I’d found on the shelf, it was filled with little sheets of paper instead of matches. Strange. What would anyone use such paper for, too small to clean glasses and not the right kind of paper, either.
I shrugged and found matches in my backpack in a pouch with some jasmine incense. I picked up a large candle out of a basket, and lit the candle wick. But it immediately went out. I tried again, same result.
That’s when I realized, duh, it was an electric candle. A very well disguised one, because I’m used to using electric candles in the gym when I teach yoga. I thought, well, that’s kind of a synchro…fake matches…fake candle. But what does it mean?
Maybe it symbolizes that something here wasn’t seem real. Or maybe nothing was real. After all, in Zen, the everyday world is considered an illusion. Meditation, meanwhile, moves us into a state of awareness where the physical world no longer seems so real. It could’ve been that.
Or, on a more mundane level, the alternative was that my class itself—at least on that day—wasn’t real. In fact, no one showed up, except Trish, and we decided to head home. But first I turned off the electric candle and dropped the fake matches in the basket next to it.