Recently a friend asked me, “How do you meditate? What happens when you meditate?” This friend has always appeared to be adverse towards this sort of introspection yet is currently faced with some life-altering circumstances, which have likely prompted this curiosity. Having been a daily meditator for many years, I mumbled something about watching my breath flow in and out of my body which results in quieting and calming my mind. Aware of my friend’s antipathetic attitude toward self-reflection, I let my timid side take over and was hesitant to share more. That has gnawed at me like an aching tooth ever since. My friend asked for my help and I allowed fear to prevent me from fully engaging.
So, friend, this blog is for you.
Some days I awake feeling like my mind is swirling about, like the water in the channel that runs in front of our cottage as it gets tossed about whenever a boat passes another boat there. Mini rapids crash against the granite that borders each side of the channel and, in the vessel’s wake, a series of widening churning water cones appear.
After an especially vivid night of crazy dreams, early morning meditation helps bring me back to my center. I find a quiet space with my phone, plug white buds into my ears and begin. I tend to favour my collection of Oprah and Deepak twenty-minute meditations, but there are many others readily available like Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm, etc.
First Oprah’s powerful and calming voice fills my head with insights on consciousness, grace, security, love, or gratitude, whatever the topic of the day. These are followed by Deepak’s deep and comforting voice expanding on the same theme. When the talking stops, I pay attention to watching my breath as it goes in and out of my body while repeating the mantra of the day. My mind’s constant motion begins to slow. That calm soon leads to the nucleus of my thoughts, where I often replay everyday life events that have left me feeling challenged. Then I remind myself to simply breathe and repeat the mantra. From time to time, I notice aches or pains in my body. Occasionally, when I allow my mind to observe an aching shoulder or tight neck muscle, a feeling will surface there. It could be sadness, or sometimes anger or guilt. By then, because I am in a meditative state, I watch and feel the emotion, but somehow mysteriously stay separate from it. Sometimes it is this watching that’s enough to free the feeling from the muscle fibers. Other times, my shoulders will shudder as sobs pull themselves from my body. Throughout, I simply watch as the energy releases its hold on me.
As my mind’s silence deepens, I become aware of a quiet strength deep in my core. It’s a fearless place filled with love. Slowly, somewhat desperately, I move towards this awareness in a bid to surrender and give myself to its power.
Once the mantra is released, my hands leave their upward position and I go about my day; it’s this silent tranquility that stays with me, woven delicately into the threads of my cells.
Meditation brings me back to my core, to my soul, to the wonderful, amazing, and incredible spirit that inhabits my body. What a wonderful feeling that is.
What about you? Do you meditate? How does it make you feel? I would love to hear your thoughts on meditation.