This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Epic Meditation post

It must have something to do with the idea of “the new year”. In many ways we all appear to be “gearing up” for something. We may be readying to impeach another corrupt Illinois politician, getting a job, or embarking on a creative process. As my regular readers know, I am someone that is perhaps more subject to feeling influenced by popular moods or events. So it came as little surprise to me, when I felt myself crashing, after trying to pack a year’s worth of goals into the first week of the year. As my favorite aunt would say, “silly girl.”

In October ’08 I had my first energy reading session. It became a catalyst to me finally getting up and out of the wading pool of depression that I’d been laying in all year. Following that session I had another encounter with a clairvoyant, during a reflexology session. These two events helped me purge a lot of heavy emotion from deep in my belly, and left me feeling much stronger, as if I’d found where my center had been hiding. Those good feelings began to collapse during, and following, the last visit from my ex.
I have been supplementing much of my day-to-day since that session in October with a podcast and meditation. I also subconsciously embarked on a reading block that focuses on self-fulfillment and intention. My author guides have been Brezsny, Lynne McTaggart, Liz Gilbert, and, most recently, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés with her classic, must-read, Women Who Run with the Wolves. This is one of those books that I will never forget and will think about constantly while I’m reading it.
My immersion in learning the ways of conscious thought seems sometimes like it was implemented by someone other than me; someone who is wiser and knows how to guide my often rebellious consciousness toward a kinder, more fulfilling, path. But it was not. I did it. I have had catalysts, but I am the one who knew this was integral to my growth as an enlightened and content woman being. During my meditation practices, which have been around 15 minutes a piece, I felt more centered and more aware. I became conscious of the poisons my mind will administer to injure and weaken my psyche.
It’s a fascinating practice to learn how your own mind works to keep you down, unhappy, or stuck in the same old ruts you always seem to get into. The human mind is the devil when left to unstructured meanderings!

This is all back story. As I said in the first paragraph, I felt myself crashing yesterday after a busy week and a night with little sleep. I felt completely determined to meditate for at least 10 minutes after getting home from work. I dallied a bit when I got home: took a cat nap, ate some dinner and watched the, yes brilliant, new show by Joss Whedon. By this time it was close to 9 PM. I turned off my computer and most of my lights, lit incense, and sat down for some clearing of my mind.

Two hours later I emerged like someone who’d been fighting a psychic battle, because I had.

Some time between Christmas and New Years I’d felt a ball of nervous energy take up residence in belly. That is where I generally feel most of my energetic tension first. I’d tried a little breathing into it, and thought I’d loosened it up some. New Year’s Day brought some dramatic fighting with a close friend and for the rest of my U.P. vacation that little ball of tense energy strengthened and hovered in my belly. I began to obsess over my need to meditate to get rid of the things that I felt piling up on my psyche, but didn’t make the time – an old destructive habit dies hard. I returned from the U.P. and went back to work.
The Monday I returned, I spent 3 hours on the phone with bankers, disinterested Illinois Tollway fine collectors, and finally, crying, with Mom. My therapist canceled due to illness and I felt desperation take up residence in my throat, neck, and shoulders. Tuesday dumped the stressors of feeling insecure and emotionally hyper into my gut, and while Wednesday brought sweet relief in the form of a really good 1st date with a really good person, I was also saddled with a hung over, foggy head for Thursday (worth the trade, honestly).

Two hours is a long-ass time for a novice to try to meditate. I didn’t set out to do that, but felt compelled, once I notice how many layers of ­shit had built up on my mind and how that shit was muting the light at my center. That light is muy importante to my well-being. The reasons I stayed so long are many. I felt my body aching and hurting and it was hard to stay still for very long. Anytime I moved I made myself start over. I had an unrealistic goal in mind and it took me two hours to give it up. I wanted to slough off all the trash that had littered me and return to some idea I had of a clean mental state.
I remembered the gurugita, a 182-verse Hindu scripture, mentioned in Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. It caused Liz a lot of problematic reactions when she practiced it, so much that she tried to abandon it all together. It made her sweaty, itchy, angry and uncomfortable; all these physical reactions from a song! My mediation last night caused many similar reactions. My belly ached, my back, neck, shoulders and throat began to hurt, I grew clammy and restless and even wanted to cry out in frustration from not “being able to” be still. But, if there’s one thing I am, it’s stubborn a hard worker, and so I persevered. I practiced the alternating nostril breath from yoga, which has a profound calming effect. Still, I was dictating many requirements to myself, so that I could somehow “know” that my meditation practice had been “a success”. Finally, after listening to the entirety of my “Chakra Healing” album, I decided that a two hour battle with my inner workings was long enough and that I aught to be nice to myself and put myself to bed.

I had dreams. I don’t remember what they were. I slept very sound and darkly and was slow to begin moving this morning. I felt quieter in my mind, but still was unsure how well I’d done to relinquish my self from the demons of my psyche that had gained strength over the holiday weeks. It was when I got to journaling on my commute to work that I realized I had had success after-all. I had re-realized how vital meditation has become to my stability and had decided this:
The mind is like any other object in the world; a car, for example. If you don’t wash your car, it becomes caked in dust, grime, and admonishments to “wash me”. Once you finally do decide to wash it, you may have to do so several times to restore its paint to its rightful shine.
That is, possibly, an elementary assessment of the nature of our psyches, but I am I but a student. And a totally badass meditator. And feeling much better now, thanks.


ammie said...

Two hours... That IS epic. I'm glad the aftereffects were satisfactory, and I hope you're still feeling better :) And, um, loan me that book when you finish?

ShanaRose said...

you betcha!

coriander said...

Thanks for saying "hey". It's interesting how our psyches seem to seek out just what we need at just the right times. I can't meditate for sh*t until suddenly I can because I get to a place where my entire head is screaming slow the F down and deal with yourself.