There are a lot of things about life that confound me/us. One of the strongest struggles I’ve faced is that inner demon of disillusionment. It’s a crabby little invisibleness that has power like Kryptonite. It shows up in so many costumes I’d give it an Oscar. I might face apathy, overwhelm that is paralyzing, nagging story-making untruths conjured about others, wildly varying fears, the frustrating limbos of life or the great unknown. All the nifty gloom and doom ways and calibers of creation seem to burrow deeply within… you, within any of us.
Don’t get me wrong here, external stimuli have a jumbo way of expanding upon such mental monsters too. Work, especially lack of work for those unemployed in need, relationships of all kinds, ailing pets or people we adore, any or all kinds of peripheral situations may knock us off kilter. For the sake of rooting this, I’m cuffing this to a singularly-self item today.
My Kung fu pow-wow: one day I began to embrace meditation. If you’ve forgotten how to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, or even my fair weathered fav Jack Frost, meditation has room for placing belief back into all these, and more, and mostly oneself. While my steps to believing I could believe in meditation itself was a little journey and no instant gratification, like all freakishly stupefying facts — yes, FACTS, I say — you simply have to ‘see’ it to believe it. And I saw that meditation is a lifesaver. Choose your popular flavor. Mine was always a toss-up between Wild Cherry and Green Apple. Ha, ha! I just merrily meandered to Life Savers candy land to show off the randomness of a meditation moment. In essence, our thoughts go every which way so often, this is acutely why I recognized the importance of how meditation might help me. And, in actuality, the flavors I was heartily referring to would show up equally in meditation as the different styles you may learn.
My meditation starter story is durably provocative too. Ideally, this will cull your attention to this important matter. I was single and met a man I really crushed on at an eco-event. After a lovely date one eve, infused with many fresh margaritas to my memory, I stayed overnight with him. Wrapped in goodness together, I was caught off guard when he quietly crawled out of bed in the wee morning hours and didn’t return so readily. Curiosity won when I couldn’t stand it any longer, and as I saw the clock read sometime around 4:00 am only. There wasn’t a peep in his apartment, even from his jovial cat. So, I pretended I had to pee and exited the warm covers to stumble upon him seated in the middle of his living room, eyes closed, peacefully smiling, and very silent, with his cat curled nearby. He didn’t even once break whatever connect with his solitude going on within him. I chose not to interrupt him. I folded myself back into bed, astounded and intrigued.
After about a half hour, he finished his ‘meditation’ and came back to bed. I was hooked on meditation and didn’t even know it yet! All because of this amazing experience of viewing someone else’s experience. He was so calm, exuding a bliss and soothing sense of self. It was infectious. I wanted to know all about it. He was charmed and explained his practice, his teachers, his road to learning about meditation. He also offered I could attend an introduction class for free and then choose to study with his initial teacher Thom Knoles if I liked. What a welcome to this new world I would sustain being enamored with as Vedic Meditation.
The basics of why Vedic Meditation was for me:
- All I had to do was close my eyes for a few minutes. — Ideally, this would be twenty minutes twice a day. Even so, that’s not asking a lot. And I could choose how much, and how often, based on my own needs.
- I could close my eyes anywhere. — Ideally, this may be a hushed place, but I was encouraged I could do this in my parked car pulled aside in traffic, at the park where there are tons of children running around, or on an airplane.
- Any thoughts during meditation were considered a healthy un-stressing. — Ideally ideal! Those pesky lists of things I wanted to remember or forgot to do, along with all kinds of dream memories, random ex-boyfriends popping in, that trip I wanted to book, the job I couldn’t figure out I wanted as a life purpose, any and all of it became OK during meditation. I was told it all amounted to a clearing of stress about it all. I was instructed to easily remember my breathing or a modest mantra I was given when I recognized the jumble of thoughts. And over and again to remember breath, or reroute to a mantra, whenever I could collect to do so during the heavy thoughts. Sometimes I would feel I never remembered to breathe and only have thoughts. Yet I know I was breathing when I finished the meditation. Either way, I remain encouraged and have never been scolded.
Being a world traveler still wishing to see a lot more of the world, meditation has the mega bonus in the arena of jet lag too. One of the first phrases I recall being told about meditation was the success for curing jet lag. As if I needed more cause for jumping on this bandwagon. Bingo! Pragmatically skeptical of a few good things, I remember trying out the eyes closed meditation stance on a typical Los Angeles to New York flight after learning this meditation. Not only did five hours float by, of which I never have been able to sleep anyway, but I literally bounced off the jetway like Tigger. I was bursting with energy. It really did seem to do the trick. Again and again since, I’ve sought meditation on many flights, especially longer hauls to Europe, Africa or India.
Some intervals I catch myself in what I call mini waking meditations. I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, or watching the clouds floating and shaping into creatures when I zone out with the same euphoria I wander through during more proper meditations. The same may happen when I’m steeped in a bathtub, or walking along nearly any stretch of beach under the sunshine’s brilliance. I think for me the warmth certainly is an excellent meditatively inducing culprit.
Lately, I’ve been fiercely using my meditation practice to get through life road bumps. I’ve focused on meditation when waking, before sleeping, during every single flight and airport layover, between multiple hotel bedsheets, on so many streets parked in my car, and even crazy blips when walking for exercise, or in the midst of a boxing gym conditioning training fitness move. Meditation ruptures the dubiously operating me from the wizard. Meditation provokes there is a path when all I see is ruffled earth. Meditation is my courage recalibration when I’ve forgotten that pinching myself, my mere existence is enough to prove. Meditation is my home, especially when I’m without one in my umpteen life adventures.
I won’t stop meditating because I have yet to find a better way to view my inner mind as if it was an entity unto itself, separating its madness from me. Which for brief, and sometimes blissfully prolonged, moments allows me to reflect that I’m not all that mental jumble of lists, strangled desires, items to do, unfinished, unquenched, smothering life stuff. Instead, meditation gifts me space and an seemingly endless volume of expansion to (re)create whatever I may need: a new energy, different thoughts, fertile ideas, compassion, heaps of patience, relaxation, flexibility, taking leaps, understanding of others and of self, benevolence, and the faith to keep believing it really is ok, it all does amount to and mean something, and that things are sanely (although insanely appearing at times) happening for a reason.
May you be hooked enough to embrace meditation too.