Meditation and Seeking Inner Peace.
I’ve been on a spiritual quest all my life; Looking for the truth and seeking out answers to questions that have plagued people for centuries.
Who am I?
What path am I to follow?
What is my purpose?
Most often the question is: what the heck is happening or what in the world just happened?
Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, it all gets thrown up in the air again?
Such is life!
I’m a pretty happy gal. I’m smart, adaptable, open-minded, courageous and creative. I’m not afraid of asking the hard questions, seeking out the truth or speaking it for that matter. I can see the bright side even in the middle of the dark. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the indifferent. I’ve experienced standing ovations and humiliations, false accusations and emancipation. I’ve experienced devastation and elation.
In my opinionation, and with careful observation, I think you would agree I like words that end with “ation”.
That’s probably why I am a fan of meditation.
Part of the lure of it for me, was the promise of inner peace and tranquility. Who doesn’t want that?
I practice it a few times a week on a regular basis. When the stress of the world heats up or life demands more from me than I think that I’ve got, I go into my quiet place to fill back up. It keeps me healthy and it keeps me clear-headed and strong. I don’t hide from life in it. I use it to strengthen myself to handle the things of life. I use it to remind myself of the truth in life and of life.
With Christmas just around the corner and my mind racing from this to that, from finishing up with some commitments and clearing my desk of the jobs that were piled up, I thought it might be necessary to take a few moments to recharge. The countdown is on for my children to head home for the holidays. They will be bringing a friend and a dog to stay as well.
It’s going to be busy and chaotic but absolutely wonderful.
I thought I was excited. I mean, I clearly am feeling the Christmas spirit. I thought I was energized and ready and all, “home for the holidays, chestnuts roasting on the open fire, Jack Frost nipping at my nose, yuletide carol feeling”.
That is until I leaned over to frame my last piece of art that has to go out and my back went into a spasm.
I gripped my chest with one hand and then massaged my middle back with the other. The spasm came on like a vice.
I called for my husband, “Geez, I’m either having a spasm or a heart attack, what do you think? How do I look?” I asked as I gave my best smile through pain flushed cheeks and gritting teeth.
My husband said “Ah, you’re just stressed out and you look good!”
“Huh? Me? Stressed? No way. I’m excited. I’m feeling all Jingle Bells and stuff.”
“You’re stressed. You know what you’re worried about. You’re thinking too much.”
“Yeah, I know. You gotta chill.”
I walked slowly to my room and lay down slowly on the bed, with a pillow positioned under my knees. I stared at the ceiling.
“Seriously, I don’t have time for this” I lamented aloud.
I lay for a moment noting the pattern of the rise and wave of the spasm. I waited for it to subside and then tracked it again for the next five minutes.
I might be here for a while I thought.
That’s when my super multitasking skills kicked in and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to meditate.
For as long as I have been practicing, you would think I would be a pro. Most times I enter it easily and I have become quite skilful at it. Today, was one of those days that reminded me of what happened a lot at the beginning. I almost stopped meditating because of it. It does get better but there are still those days……like today.
I quiet myself for a moment and then I start with my key word. Some people repeat a sound, some a phrase. Mine is a simple “Ok God, let’s do this”. It works for me.
I take note of my breath, the inhale deep into my lungs and the slow release upon exhalation.
I notice another spasm revving up in my mid section so I concentrate more on my breath.
Breathe in…Don’t tense….oh darn…I’m tensing up.
I’m aware now that I am beginning to hyperventilate. Today is not a focus on the breath day.
I go back to my key phrase “Ok God, this time I’m serious. Let’s do this!”
I become aware of the top of my head. I notice any tension and I release the tension with a mind caress of each strand of hair, each inch of my skin. I move my way to each area of my face, my eyes, my nose, my sinuses.
I notice they are stuffy; my left nostril especially.
It’s distracting. This will not do.
I open my eyes and roll to my side, leaning way across the bed to grab a Kleenex on the nightstand. My back goes into spasm again.
I roll back on to my back, blow my nose and then say again, “This time I’m serious, O.K. God. Let’s do this!”
I know I’ve already lost a good five minutes and I’m feeling a little pressure to hurry up to slow down.
I move quicker through the relaxation process of my follicles. “here a hair , there a hair, everywhere a hair hair yada yada.
This is not a good way to start.
I take a breath. Loosen my shoulders. Say a quiet prayer. And then…. calmer this time…. I say…. “O.k. God, let’s do this.
And then calmly…
…Back to my nose.
Feeling clear. Feeling fine.
I place my hands back at my sides with palms up.
I move my attention to my mouth and my lips and my teeth. They seem to be relaxed although my jaw is begging for attention.
I relax the muscles of my jaw and imagine clean and healing waters flowing through them like a mini jaw spa.
I imagine the trickle of the water and its gentle flow….
And that’s when I get the first inkling that I think I have to pee.
No more water imagery. I’ve got to get back on track.
I move my focus to my neck and then my collar-bone.
Shoot, I forgot my brain!
I move back up my head to attend to my brain. I imagine it’s functioning and its healthy tissues, the electrical currents running smoothly and calmly and efficiently.
Then … my mind drifts to….duh duh duh… zombies
Let me explain.
I was watching a television show the other night on them. Brains seem to be their thing. I start thinking about the zombie apocalypse scheduled only weeks away. I imagine the posters, with the headline “coming soon, near you”.
That’s funny, I think. But completely inappropriate for a meditation session
I allow the thought to leave and relax my shoulders.
On second thought, wouldn’t that just be a kicker? A zombie apocalypse?
I reckon it might even be a breath of fresh air? Compared to what life sometimes throws at us, it might feel like a walk in the park.
And those Mayans? Why did they just stop that calendar? Was it just some random Mayan guy who was famous for procrastination, never getting around to finishing the calendar? I’m sure all of us have started a project, a quilt or scrapbook that we just never seem to get around to finishing. Time goes on and the unfinished quilt that Aunt Mildred started gets handed down to one of the grandchildren who always wanted to take up quilting. She will carry on the quilting legacy as soon as she finds the right fabric and gets home from vacation or the kids start school and on and on it goes.
I wonder if the Mayan guy had no intention of freaking people out. The calendar stoppage might just have been as simple as he got bored in the middle of making it.
He might have taken up a new occupation or moved during a plague or drought. His wife might have donated it to a local bazaar after a rant that only a woman tired of picking up after everyone, can deliver. I can hear it now. “You and your silly idea;. A calendar to last a kabillion years? Hah! Fiddlesticks! This house is a mess with all your crazy inventions and get rich quick schemes. You’ve got responsibilities Fred, a family to feed. And I can’t clean this house all by myself. It looks like a bachelor pad. I swear, if you leave your tablets lying around one more time, I swear I’ll..”.
This is silly I think. Seriously! Taking this Mayan calendar thing seriously is just…well… nonsense. It’s not like it was written in stone….
Actually, I think it was!….written in stone that is.
Doesn’t matter….. My shoulders are relaxing…. my arms are feeling heavy and are sinking into the soft mattress
….I gotta pee….my chest muscles are releasing all tension and I am free from every worry and care.
And then my mind drifts to my worries. As each one surfaces, I say, I’m not going there and allow them to flutter away like little butterflies.
One by one, I let them go until one arises and I see my daughter wandering around in the snow.
A blinding blizzard hit where she lives now. It was a white out. She called to say that she got disoriented while walking to her job. She couldn’t see a thing and for a short time was heading in the wrong direction. A friend came out of the white and to her aid. She was safe. But I couldn’t get the picture of her out of my head, lost, wandering in the wilderness, alone and cold and…..
I wonder if her coat is warm enough and I worry about her ears. She has the sweetest, tiniest little ears. I worry about them freezing… and falling off…and …..
Stop it! Relax. Refocus.
Just one more thought…. I hope her flights work out … there’s been a small mix-up, a rerouting. Will the weather hold out?
Stop it! Let it go. She is safe and she is warm and she is coming home.
I picture her arrival and her smile and then I picture my son coming home and all of us together again, under one roof, laughing and lounging about and catching up and eating snacks and drinking hot chocolate.
I relax again… and return my focus…now where was I?
Oh yes, my solar plexus. I feel peaceful and centered and I slowly fix my attention on ….
My stomach; It’s growling.
Man, am I hungry. I could go for a meatball sub right now. I wonder if there is pizza sauce in the cupboard.
I imagine myself eating a mozzarella dripping meatball pizza submarine sandwich.
I lick my lips.
They are dry. I’m thirsty.
I could use a glass of water.
I have to pee.
I coax my stomach into a state of calm. My abdominal muscles release all tension.
Around to the back, my back muscles are releasing. The spasm is barely noticeable as I visually survey my spine and each disc.
They are glowing and healthy.
I smile that peace has been restored to my back.
I move my attention to my intestines and confirm their health, shining a healing light upon them.
I move lower to my bladder.
I gotta pee.
I can focus through this. I can rise above it. I can disconnect from the discomfort. It is the way.
Man, have I gotta pee.
I can’t stand it. I feel urgent.
This will not do.
I try to refocus again. It’s not working. In fact, the focus is making it worse.
I lean over and look at the clock. I’ve been laying here for thirty minutes. I haven’t even made it to my prayer mode.
So I get up and with back now relaxed, head to the rest room and then to the kitchen to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat as a snack while I prepare the mozzarella dripping meatball submarine sandwiches.
I think about heading back to meditate….but …it’s not happening today.
So I let it go.
Which is something I am getting very good at.!
And my children coming home pops into my mind again and it brings a smile to my face and calms me a little more.
I guess this meditation session wasn’t a complete loss.
Inner Peace and Tranquility? It’s attainable and comes to you in many ways. Sometimes it comes from meditation. Sometimes it comes through prayer. Sometimes it comes from speaking the truth or just refusing to engage in untruths. Sometimes it comes from letting go or walking away when you’ve done everything you possibly can. Sometimes it comes from focusing on what was good about an experience even if that experience on the surface looks like a failure. Sometimes it comes from remembering just how strong and resilient you are. Sometimes it comes from facing your fears or insecurities. Sometimes it comes from deciding to stop being so hard on yourself and being happy with who you already are, today, just as you are, a continuous work in progress. .
And sometimes it comes after eating a meatball sub. Delicious!
I’ll take it, any way I can get it.