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Lions Roar : July 2014
Because of the traffic, Weiss tells me, some die-hard seniors and other regulars may not be able to make it to CMC this morning, so attendance could be way down; it tops out at about two hundred sometimes. She warmly invites me to meet Lokos. Automatically, I thrust out my hand and shake his, but my sense of touch quickly sends a message to my brain: This is not the time for a firm handshake. Both of Lokos’s hands are in ban- dage-like glove contraptions. I hope I haven’t hurt him. I leave him to a moment with himself before he gives today’s teaching at 11:30. The room seems to be filling up nicely. hal- loween decorations are still up—a green witch will stir a cauldron behind Lokos as he talks—and people are festive, talky, upbeat. By 11:28, fifty have arrived, including some of the die-hard seniors, who are joined by visitors of all ages from their twenties on up. “Let me catch my breath,” the seventy-three-year-old teacher quips, having just taken his seat. “That marathon’s quite a race.” Then he begins his guided meditation, which includes references to gratitude for the body. “Isn’t it amazing that breathing just happens on its own?” he says. “how wonderful to have this body that supports this practice of mindfulness.” Coming from him, it means a lot. wHICH brInGS uS to that trip to Burma and the “one little thing” that went wrong. Lokos, Weiss, and sixty-nine others were taking a short in- country flight on a Fokker 100, a small plane but not quite a puddle jumper; the numeral denotes its number of seats. There seemed to be nothing unusual with this flight. Then, with essen- tially no warning, the plane crashed. One of the passengers, a woman from California, later recalled looking out and seeing a blue flash, which was likely the plane shearing through electrical wires with its wings. And since the fuel was stored in the wings, they immediately burst into flames. But Lokos didn’t see any of that, so when Weiss first told him they’d crashed, he thought she was overreacting. There had not even been a “Fasten your seatbelts” sign. Lokos turned to Weiss, and by the time he turned back—it rod meade Sperry is the associate editor of the Shambhala Sun and the editor of the new anthology A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. Lokos returned to teaching at community Meditation center after seven months of healing. What had started as “seven of us in a little room” in 2007 had mushroomed, with talks from teachers like Bob Thurman and Sharon Salzberg, and up to 200 members in attendance. SHAMBHALA SUN JULy 2014 64