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.
He once went to India with his yoga teacher, meditated in a new manner and wrote the teacher's name in pen on his hand so he wouldn't forget it. Master Choa Kok Sui. He is "not in his body anymore,'' as Ricky says, dying in 2007.
But Williams talks and leads some warm-ups - including rolling the eyes 12 times clockwise and 12 times counterclockwise – Master Choa's CD on meditation called "Twin Hearts" is played.
This is what Williams meditates to on an almost daily basis. He does it early in the morning. He does it before practices. He does it before leaving home or the hotel room for Dolphins games – "I'm so relaxed driving to games,'' he says.
Amid the concentrating on happy occurrences, of repeating a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, of becoming a tunnel of divine love, of awakening your heart and the crown on top of your head, the hope is your mind gets de-activated. And, thus, activated.
It's in these quiet moments that Williams finds answers to his life. None were more important than in 2007 after he failed his final drug test a month before he would have be reinstated by the NFL.
"I was feeling down and desperate for answers,'' he said. "Lucky for me I was meditating. Every day following my meditation, I would feel uplifted. I was able to rise above feeling sorry for myself so that I could clearly see what I needed to do."
By now, it's a success story, the Ricky Williams saga. Just look through the prism of this off-season. He took a full load of classes at Nova Southeastern this off-season ("I think I got all A's,'' he said). He had his documentary released on ESPN.
He was named the Dolphins' Most Valuable Player for the 2009 season and asked by Dolphins coaches to assume a leadership role. These days in practice, you can see his impact through little things like running backs sprinting downfield 20 or 30 yards after a play, like he always has done.
But this class, this moment, might signify his greatest achievement. Not just by teaching it. But, sitting here, in the dark, in the stillness, I seem to blank out for a brief moment of meditation. At least I think it was meditation.
Maybe I fell asleep?
"If you get 30 seconds, a minute, that's good your first time,'' Williams said.
Williams closed by leading us through warm-down stretches and hand pats of body parts – "Pat the liver here on the right side (pat, pat, pat), the spleen here on the left side (pat, pat, pat), the small intestine down here. …"
It's all new age. Or old world. It's Far East, far out or just fascinatingly far different, once again, from what you see in most pro athletes.
"Worst case scenario, people make fun of me,'' Williams said of teaching this class. "Best case, I help a few people."
As his students left the room, everyone thanked him. Everyone seemed relaxed. And that includes me, even if my crown never had golden flames. Or maybe because of that. It's something to meditate on next class.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun