ANA (a budding spiritual teacher)
MARTIN (a spirited attendee of a public talk by Ana)
JARED (a personal development coach, also attending Ana’s talk)
ANA is silent.
MARTIN Well, is that what you’re saying?
MARTIN Well why not? If meditation can dissolve all experiences of suffering, why wouldn’t we focus all of our resources on teaching it to as many people as possible?
MARTIN Nothing else has that power—to solve all problems. Food solves only hunger. Medicine solves only disease. And improving a political system always involves trade-offs and compromise. Even money has its limits.
ANA Yes, it certainly does.
MARTIN So why not, then? If whatever meditation practices allow you to “taste the perfection of existence” are basically magical pills that solve literally everything… why would we try to improve things in any other way?
JARED I like to say that meditation is just one tool in the “personal sovereignty toolbox.” It’s important to teach other things, too!
MARTIN Thanks, Jared.
ANA May I share my thoughts?
MARTIN Of course.
ANA So—I believe that spiritual practitioners are naturally in great danger of… “floating off.”
MARTIN What does that mean?
ANA It means that if you’re someone who devotes your life to practicing the type of awareness we’ve been discussing, it’s possible to abuse a certain form of that awareness to hide from existence itself.
MARTIN What does this have to do with the question we’re discussing?
ANA I’m getting to that.
JARED I think I see how—
MARTIN Let her finish.
ANA Thank you. So—
DAVE Hello there folks.
A booming voice has appeared from out of nowhere.
All three people look around, startled. No one else in the room reacts; these three seem to have been the only ones to have heard it.
They all look at one another.
ANA Do you…?
DAVE I’ve got to interject here.
The trio is dumbstruck.
DAVE You are all just characters in my mind. You don’t actually exist. This isn’t a problem you have to figure out.
MARTIN is looking through the crowd in the room, open-mouthed, shocked that so few people seem to be hearing the thunderous voice.
JARED has sat down on the floor and begun to rub his palms over his eyes, rocking back and forth.
ANA is looking up towards the roof silently.
DAVE I know this stuff is complicated. I know you’re doing your best. Except… you aren’t actually doing anything. You aren’t real. You’re just a little game playing out in my head.
ANA finally smiles, wide.
ANA I get it.
DAVE I… am not quite sure you do.
ANA is grinning with absolute bliss.
ANA This has all been just a dance within The Mind Itself. You are me. It’s all a game.
DAVE No, not like that. I’m an actual human being. I made you up.
ANA’s smile begins to fade.
DAVE It’s ok though! It means you don’t have to worry about anything.
MARTIN No! She doesn’t need any more reasons to not worry about anything!
DAVE Ahh, you’re probably right.
JARED What is happening!!
DAVE Oh, Jared. You sweetheart.
ANA Does this mean…
ANA Does this mean that I can…
DAVE Oh, yes. Yes it does.
MARTIN It does what?
DAVE Don’t worry about it, Martin. You’re doing great .
MARTIN I am?
DAVE Maybe just turn the anger down a little.
JARED How am I doing?
DAVE Oh, Jared.
JARED I need to know!
DAVE I know you do, buddy.
ANA has sat down on the floor next to Jared and slowly brought herself into a lotus pose. She is now staring at the floor.
ANA Can I…
ANA Can I ask just one more question?
DAVE Of course.
DAVE Though I may not have an answer for it.
ANA Alright, well here goes: why are you doing this?
DAVE Come again?
ANA Why are you imagining us?
DAVE Oh. That’s a wonderful question.
DAVE Well, I suppose… it’s because the conversation between you three seems important.
ANA So you brought us together because you wanted to… listen to our conversation?
The booming voice is silent.
JARED Did he leave?
ANA I think… I think maybe we would know if he left.
ANA gazes compassionately at the bespectacled man, before turning to look up at MARTIN with slightly raised eyebrows.
ANA Well, indeed.
ANA and JARED continue sitting on the floor, with MARTIN standing pensively above them.
MARTIN finally, gingerly sits down on the floor with the other two.
MARTIN I suppose…
MARTIN I suppose, given all that, perhaps we should…
ANA Pick up where we left off?
ANA I can’t think of anything I’d love more.