I recently spent some time learning to meditate.
Warning: “adult” language ahead!
And by meditate, I mean sit very still and pretend that: a) I can still feel my legs, b) my ass doesn’t hurt, c) I like stationary, motionless “activity,” and, d) I’m totally focused on the here and now and not actually just making mental to-do lists.
Oh yeah. It was super fun. I can’t wait to do it again . . . said no one, ever.
It was kind of fabulous, actually, so long as I overlook the temporary atrophy of key body parts like my feet, the stinging pain in my lower lumbar and the throbbing incited by any and all movement requiring effort from my shoulders. All this joy presented (in full technicolor) by our teacher “Discipline,” helping yogis practice keeping their spine straight since about 2000 A.D. (or so).
Meditation instructions include: shoulders back, pelvis bowl tucked under, heart forward, hands in your lap, eyes closed, head bowed slightly, and then, you know, hold that exact position for say. . . an hour or so. Repeatedly.
Oh, also, ignore the sweat dripping down the back of your neck. And the flies buzzing in your ear. Ditto on the smells floating in from nearby rooms (and other members of the group meditation . . .).
Ignore all of those and focus only on the sensations you experience. Focus your breath. Notice where your thoughts go.
Remain in the present.
Seriously, stop it. Especially out loud. Dude, total party foul.
Good times, no?
Well, okay, yes and no. On a physical level, let’s just say the idea of a 15 minute meditation now sounds like a piece of fucking cake. Like, wham, bam, thank you M’am, what else you got there, teacher woman?
However, on a spiritual and emotional level it’s a whole different story.
Wow. Hello my (old) soul, long time no see. And also, hey there, new self, nice to meet you. Quite a handshake you’ve got there, what with your firm grasp on reality and all.
I admit, I started with really only a half open mind. Half open as in, part of me (the inner yogi, I suppose) was totally game for the experience and grateful for the quiet. The other half of me, was, well, slightly more resistant to the idea. A rather epic battle of wills occurred as I attempted to strip away the layers of myself beneath which I’ve been hiding.
I resisted shedding the cloaks of humor, sarcasm and busy-ness I have worn so proudly for the last three decades.
I struggled to find my naked soul, and to sit comfortably there, staring at my reflection and its overwhelming authenticity.
But meditation is so simple, right?
The short version of my first several rounds went something like this: See Jane sit. See Jane see. See Jane run. Repeat.
Somewhere along the way though, something shifted, and it wasn’t just me on that damn cushion. My whole soul moved.
Finally, I let go, and I stayed. I didn’t go into ostrich mode. I didn’t immediately take the nearest exit and I didn’t channel Alicia Florrick and offer my closing arguments. Instead, I acknowledged, eyes wide open, heart lifted, ready to receive in order to create release.
I found my inner demons, made friends with them, and then bid them a long overdue farewell. Peace out, old habits, attitudes and beliefs. My operating system just had an update, and well, you’re no longer useful here. Later.
At the end of the day, after all that work, and when the battle was over I was able to see myself again. To be cliché, it was almost as if for the very first time.
Post meditation, I found comfort in my reflection. The tears I had allowed myself to shed had been cleansing. The forgiveness I offered myself were immeasurably freeing.
The peace I felt in knowing, through and through, root chakra and all, who I am, what I stand for, and how to get out my own way was stunning.
The image I saw in the mirror of my mind’s eye was one I liked, at last. One with grace, beauty and power. One with the potential to change her mind, and in turn, to change the world around her. In sum:
“Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate.” ~ Swami Sivananda
Sending you love, light and healing…oh, that, and a recommendation to find a good meditation cushion, a case of china gel and possibly a heating pad, you know, for that ass.
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Editor: Renée Picard