"My partner had such low energy," she said. "I'm a high-energy person. So she took all of mine and didn't give me any back. That's why I'm so tired."
"Yeah, that happens," agreed Chad-wick, deciding to be supportive instead of right up front. He really wondered if the true reason for the girl's physical distress might be that she never before had jogged half a mile. "I'm a high-energy person, too," he said.
Just then the Prophet of Doom joined them. It seemed he had a friend at Esalen trying to heal himself from disease. The Prophet did not believe in doctors or test tubes. "At 70, when they tell you you're terminal," the Prophet said, "it gives you a great amount of freedom. Because in your 70s you're terminal anyway."
"That's the cosmic overview," agreed Chadwick.
During the afternoon session, the class worked on "tidal breathing." "Imagine that you are riding the crest of a wave as you exhale," Spino said. "Breathe in as the wave builds, out as it crests. Ride the wave. Go with the wave. Let it flow." Then they moved on to mystical things. Many people have talked about how running alters their mental attitude, that after about six miles they reach a changed state of consciousness where their bodies feel very light and efficient. Spino's idea is that by meditating before you run, you can reach this altered state at the beginning of a workout.
The class met on the patio outside the dining hall. Much of Chadwick's attention was diverted toward the swimming pool, where the sunbathers were out in force. Maybe it was a special class the institute offered, he thought. Spino's words snapped him back. Spino was asking the students to close their eyes and to begin counting their breaths. Then he had them stand up and concentrate their eyes on a spot near their feet.
"Focus your mind inward," Spino said.
Chadwick's mind was like a recalcitrant umbrella caught in a high wind. It would not go inside out. It kept returning to the swimming pool.
The group edged across the patio single file like fitful sleepwalkers, inching forward, then stopping. Slowly they moved down a short set of steps to the grassy running area. Chadwick noticed that people without clothes on were also lying about on the lawn. Maybe they were grad students in sunbathing. He focused inward again.
The idea was to run a complete circuit around the lawn: straight down a slight incline, past a large pine tree until you came to a vegetable garden, then toward the ocean for about 30 yards—careful not to continue off the cliff—next back up the hill and past the swimming pool, all the time considering the thoughts in your mind. If your concentration was broken, you were supposed to stop, get yourself centered, then start again.