Ricky Williams' new role: meditation teacher

No books, no lights and seven students – including me


My eyes are dizzy from rolling them. My neck is clicking from turning it right while inhaling, left while exhaling.

My hands hold an invisible earth, my mind's trying to fill with divine goodness and my crown – which I didn't know existed 20 minutes ago – has golden flames. Or is supposed to have them. I can't even find a spark.

Ten minutes into meditation class, the only thing meditating properly is my phone. Which was my teacher's joke.

"Put your cell phones in meditation mode,'' Ricky Williams told students before starting the class he teaches every Wednesday night at Nova Southeastern University.

Welcome, again, to the fascinating world of Ricky. It's a world most professional athletes don't enter. Or even consider entering. Or, if they would, they wouldn't want the outside world to follow them into.

Williams embraces the idea.

"I'd love you to come,'' he said when I mentioned taking his meditation class.

So I'm sitting in a chair, in the dark, in a meditative pose while silently chanting, "Om," as instructed, and attempting to turn off all thoughts in my mind. Which shouldn't be too hard.

Again, my teacher's joke.

"Not much going on in there anyway," Ricky said.

Around us, in neighboring classrooms at the Carlos DeSantis Building, business classes in marketing and finance are being conducted in full classrooms. Here, in Room 2065, things after different for the five-week-old class held Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

No books. No lectures. No lights at times. And seven students.

"This is the most we've had,'' Williams said.

He's smiling. It's progress. It's been a dream for him to teach a class like this and, when helped by a friend and Nova alumn, Carolina Ayala, Williams began doing it.

He wears sneakers, plaid shorts a polo shirt. He sits in a chair at the front of the class. He thanks one of the students, a police dispatcher, for communicating with him on Twitter and re-arranging his schedule to be there. He thanks another for returning.

"How many of you have ever meditated before?" he asks.

"I've done it twice,'' the police dispatcher says.

That makes him the veteran. Ricky? He started meditating while studying Pranic healing in California during his football sabbatical in 2004. He's flown to New Jersey for classes. To California.

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