Thursday I went to my first mindful awareness meditation class at the Hammer, led by Diana Winston of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. It was an incredible, novel communal experience. Offered in a theatre, where one is more often one of many in an audience watching films, plays, or lectures and the action is occurring on the stage, where the energy is palpably concentrated. Though led by Winston on stage, who carried all visual formality of a lecturer, being one of one, having a microphone, prompting the audience with verbal cues, this experience shifted the action and the energy to the audience. We were not watching the play, not participating in the play; we were the play. Comparing it to other shared experiences where the audience participates in group thought or word exercises, church or temple for example, this is the only time where it felt that the thoughts and words were not responses to a leader's demands, or habits, or rituals, but were standing on their own, spontaneously, and very much alive.