The Small Things

See: www.falundafa.org/eng/exercises.html

Young Woman Meditating in Lotus Position

You know, the last few days I’ve had some big, pressing topic or experience to share with you. Today, I don’t really have any earth-shattering revelations, mind-blowing new information, or spiritual insights to write about. I’m sitting here with my computer, thinking about my day, unsure what I want to say.

I guess I could start by going through the day with you:

Today was Monday. So we had our meditation group over at 7:30, although they were all a few minutes late so we started a bit after that. It’s a pretty amazing group, everyone is loving, kind, and also very accepting. They have let me join in with them as if I’d always been there and treat me no different than they treat each other. Since I am the youngest person in the group by probably 20 years, I sort of expected to be treated almost like a mascot…you know, the “token young person”? But instead they seem to respect me, and to listen to my ideas and opinions.

I really appreciate that. It makes me want to keep coming back and interacting with them. I also really appreciate how amazingly loving they all are. All of us, men and women (its about equal, half and half) give each other hugs and speak words of affection to one another. That makes it easy for me to just embrace what we do without feeling self-conscious or embarrassed if I don’t know what to do. (I am finally getting the hang of it after about a month!)

Today we did the Gayatri mantra. Its transliteration looks like this:

Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt

I don’t know what it means, but I’ve included a link above if you are curious. It is pretty amazing to be in a group of people all chanting an ancient mantra like the Gayatri. I can’t really describe the experience very well. I that that is because it is such a complete experience.

What I mean by “complete” is that it involves mind, body and spirit. As we were chanting this morning I lost myself completely in this incredible floating blue energy. I had my eyes closed, but I was seeing an outline of myself and the room we were in. I saw the room being flooded – literally flooded – by this effervescent blue energy that sparked and popped as it touched the humans in the room.

Interestingly enough, when one of our cats meowed from another room, the energy distorted slightly from that direction.

Anyway, I hardly ever see things like this in my private meditation sessions. Something about the group and the chanting makes it easier for me to connect with the energy around me and to briefly touch that web of universal consciousness that allows me to experience elements of the spiritual realm without truly leaving my body. I still haven’t experienced that. I know that many people who are trained in meditation are able to detach from their physical selves and step out of their bodies for a period of time. I am interested to understand that and might even like to experience it one day. But for now, I am satisfied with what I am getting from my own daily meditation and from our weekly group sessions.

So I guess I figured out what  I was going to write about 🙂 Meditation!

After the morning group meditation, we all ate breakfast together, and talked about all sorts of interesting things. Then, we went our separate ways. I went to do my nebulizers, because I hadn’t had time to do them before the group. Today was the first day after moving my meds down to the basement where I live. I’ve had it up in the living room on the main floor but we all agreed for me to move them and I got them all set up and I enjoyed having a bit of solitude while I did my meds this morning.

After that, I rested for a bit and then got ready to exercise. I did my cardio (power walking then running on the treadmill) and then did my Tai Chi, but today since I had a computer all to myself, I opened Pandora and brought up a station called “Heart Meditations” which was compiled by Deepak Chopra. It had all kinds of really cool “new-agey” type music with lots of electronica, soothing natural sounds, native drums, wind pipes, etc. It was a perfect background for my Tai Chi.

And afterwards, although I usually meditate later in the day, the timing and setup was just right, so I laid out my yoga mat on the deck and opened the door behind me so I could still hear the music from inside. And I sat lotus-style and meditated for about 15 minutes then did my lying down meditation for another 15 minutes. The reason I use a prone position (lying flat) is this: when I sit up, I have to exert some of my attention to maintain my posture and my body often starts to ache in some place(s). That draws my attention away from whatever I am trying to focus on, and breaks my concentration. In short, sitting makes it more difficult for me to slip into the state of total connection when I am able to communicate with the network of energy that is in us, around us and between us. But I want to learn to do it sitting up and I figure if I do meditate sitting lotus-style and if I do it repeatedly, I will eventually be able to do it without having my posture distract me.

Because, of course, lying down has an obvious downside: it makes it easier to fall asleep. Also, it is less comfortable than you might think. Lying on a yoga mat provides some padding, but the deck is still a pretty hard surface!

So the results of those meditations were a really overarching sense of peace and a mellow, subtle energy throughout my body that just seemed to hover, making it easy for me to think clearly and made the minor body aches and pains I usually have recede into the background. I really focused (during the lying-down portion) on feeling compassion for my body and gratitude for all aspects of my being.

I think I actually was able to get there this morning.

It wasn’t some big revelation, it wasn’t some crazy paradigm shift. It didn’t cause me to go running to tell someone about it. In fact, I didn’t really notice the effects much until a little later in the day. But something shifted slightly in the world and in my perception of it.

I think the reason why I had no idea what to write when I sat down tonight was because my day was incredibly smooth and relaxed. Nothing stuck out. It was like a pond with no ripples, or rather, a pond with ripples that were all the same height. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt balanced today.

And wow, that is something I have longed for since I realized how out of balance my life was back in 2007. I thought I had figured out how to balance my life. At first, drugs seemed to do it for me. They made me mellow and easygoing. They made me feel physically balanced. They helped me sleep. They made me less worried about things I had once obsessed over (things, for example, like food, sex, relationships, spirituality, and what others thought of me). It seemed like they were a dream come true.

But very quickly they owned me. Then, there was no balance. My whole life was about the pills I took and how many I took and where I was going to get enough to keep taking as many as I wanted. And this is probably the only time since that cycle began that I have truly felt some balance in my life.

So I guess although there was no massive new insight or highly-potent experience today, there was actually something deeper: a slow buildup of what I consider to be an integral part of my goal for this quest I am on: Optimal Wellness. I think I could actually define that as “balance in all aspects of my life”.

I look forward to growing more in my meditative practices, and becoming and more balanced until I truly achieve optimum wellness. It is truly the small things, the little changes, that make us who we are. They build and build, almost imperceptibly, until the are the core of our being. And if those little changes promote harmony, well…lets just say I’ll bet we’ll like the results.

Thanks for reading,

See you tomorrow.

-Nathan

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