My aunt Kate and I had a conversation over breakfast yesterday. She had realized that my nebulizer treatments that I do every morning and evening take me a solid 30-40 minutes, and suggested that I use some of that time in meditation. I thought it was a great idea. While I’d doing the treatments I can’t really talk, I have to hold the nebulizer with one hand so I can’t really do anything useful, and the air compressor makes a lot of noise so I can’t watch TV. So why not use that time to meditate? Then I don’t have to change my schedule at all, my mediation time is already built in!
So this morning I got up at 6:30 cause that’s when my body woke me. I came upstairs, got things ready, and started my treatment. I decided I would ease into things the first day, so I read the first 10-15 minutes then put down my book and started to meditate.
I’ve been thinking about the world as this energy field, with all things connected and all possibilities open. So I thought I would start out by meditating on this energy and trying to get in touch with it. I started simply by visualizing myself filling up with light, with a light that is substantial, a plasma-like substance that was slowly immersing my body until I was just a ball of energy.
Then I started to visualize myself as this ball of energy and watching as a web of light spread out from me to everything around me. I visualized myself connecting with all the people I know, and those that I don’t, saw myself connecting to trees, animals, rocks, with the earth itself.
Then I watched as the web of light spread out from me and from everything I was connected to and began to touch the molecules of gas in the atmosphere, the moon, distant planets, distant stars, and finally, distant galaxies.
And then I fell asleep.
Yeah, ok, you can laugh. I did, when I woke up. I was just getting to the crux of things in my visualization and suddenly I woke up after almost spilling the liquid from my nebulizer. You know what the first thing I thought was? “Damn it, why did you fall asleep? You were supposed to be meditating!”
As if somehow sleeping was bad, or wrong. As if it wasn’t 7:30 in the morning. As if falling asleep while I meditated wasn’t a perfectly normal and acceptable thing for me to do.
Once again, my judgmental mind stepped in and started to chastise me for no good reason. I started to think about why I was judging myself in that moment, and I realized, of course, that because of my addiction (opiates make you sleepy), I was constantly on guard against falling asleep because that was always a signal to others that I was using again. Many times someone would say, “hey, what’s wrong? why do you keep dozing off?” and I would always try and come up with some excuse.
But the stress of all that, trying to keep my body awake while it wanted to sleep, and trying to act like I was wide awake when really I was probably on the verge of passing out….well, you can imagine how tough that was.
Here’s a comparable experience you’ve probably all had: you’re driving home after a long night or a long trip or whatever, and it is night time and dark out. You are exhausted and on the edge of sleep. You get so close to nodding off at the wheel that you stop the car and get out and walk around for a few minutes. You get back in and start driving and you roll down your windows and turn the stereo up full blast or you call a friend and ask them to talk to you to help you stay awake. You’ve done that right?
Well imagine having to do that anytime you are around other people. It is stressful enough when you have to try and stay awake for a legitimate reason. But it is worse when you are having to do it because you are doing something you know you shouldn’t.
So thinking about how this experience in my past has made me more judgmental of myself in the present, I began thinking of what I could do to change the way I treat myself. I asked myself (and recommend you ask yourself), what would happen if I treated myself with the same compassion that I would treat a child? I certainly wouldn’t be upset with him if he fell asleep.
I keep being reminded every day of the process of life. If I want to change myself, I have to do it from the inside out. Right now I am having some success at changing my behavior by just following a strict routine. But even long term, that can’t change the reality of who I am. If I want to change that, to improve that, to begin to fulfill my potential as a being beyond the boundaries of matter, in the realm of energy… if I want to do that, I must change from the inside out. And that, is a process.
That is why I meditated this morning, and why I will meditate again when I do my nebulizer treatment tonight before bed. And if I fall asleep while doing it, I will say, “good! my body did what it needed to do. I succeeded!”
Perhaps the universal energy source wanted me to learn this lesson, and my body, being a part of this universal energy, began to doze off so that I could have the experience of judging myself and thus remind myself why living without judging is crucial to my wellness and recovery.
Good night, and thanks again for following along with me on this journey.