Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meditation, Prayer, Intuition and flying by the seat of my pants.....

Today, I was perched on top of a pair of big, flowered bed pillows, legs crossed Indian style, hands resting on my knees.  My palms were facing upward, ready to receive and I giggled out loud. I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Here I was, not a total newbie to this meditation practice, and it was still happening.  My nose itched and I felt like I had to sneeze.  The sound of my phone dinging from the other room, pierced my brain, and the battle began.  Like a two year old with the attention span of a rabid squirrel, the left brain began to duke it out with the right brain.  Right brain wandered off into creative ideas for the perfect Sunday Brunch for Easter, table decorations, and cute little treasures for the kids’ Easter baskets. Colorful, Creative, and Fun!  Left  brain smacked me into order like an old Nun schoolteacher.  “Knock it off.  SatChitAnanda... SatChitAnanda.  Breathe, Breathe, Breathe.... In, out, in out.”  My right brain sing-songed, “Lalalala....I can’t hear you...... There it went.... skipping on down the path with the Easter Bunny.  Ghandi once said, “To train your mind to eliminate the chatter is like trying to empty the sea with a teacup.” I feel better hearing those profound words from a  master teacher.  Today, I not only accepted this chatter as “normal” I surrendered to it.  That’s progress.  

A friend asked me the other day why I seemed so calm and centered with so much uncertainty in my life right now.  I must admit, his question took me back some.  Was I calm?  I haven’t felt like I had any right to claim any Zen qualities, especially in the last decade!  Like a roller coaster, the range of my emotional well-being, was as unpredictable as pinpointing when a tsunami would strike.  In the last few years, I have tried to keep the intensity of the times I became distressed, closeted away, sharing only with a select few closest to me. God bless them for their unconditional love, no matter what.  Yet again, that same sentiment about my noticeable serenity was echoed last night at a women’s gathering.  Am I? Good grief,  I had a meltdown,  post meditation, just in this past week!    My mind obsessing with future doom and gloom as the furnace rattled again in the middle of the night, I was rejected for two jobs that secretly didn’t really want or that suited me anyway, and my checking account reflected an overdraft.  That old practical left brain started telling tales about how my future looked rather dreary, and after all, I was so unworthy, anyway, and I hated my town, my house, my current situation...poor, poor, me.   

I’ve been actively practicing meditation for about three years now. I even downloaded a little Phone App with the option of dipping my toe into mindfulness meditation for as little as five minutes a day, or making the bigger commitment to dive in for a full twenty minutes. I am the proud owner of several lengthier guided meditation CD’s as well, because, believe it or not, I’ve had days where an hour long meditation was where my heart wanted to spend its time. In the beginning, five
minutes a day, the first year, was about all I could tolerate.  Everything started to itch, and I squirmed in my seat, consciously fighting off thoughts that crowded into that quiet space I was trying to reach.  I kept it up, no matter what; even those days when my brain was off and running and the effects weren’t what I anticipated and wanted.... calmness, insight, and peaceful acceptance of what is.  Every day, day after became a habit, like brushing my teeth or taking a daily shower to clean my body. I started to think of it as the routine I used to clean my mind of the clutter so there would be room for some silence.  I hoped that when my brain grew still, and I felt a faint quickening in my heart, I would find some true peace and my answers. 

This week, the Holiest of weeks for Christians, has been a reflective week for me.  What, I wondered, has meditation really done for me?  After all, I do still have days when the world weighs heavier than the heaven I’m trying so hard to touch within.  And, then, voila,  the answer in the form of an International 21 day Meditation practice sponsored by Oprah and Deepak Chopra I'd been participating in.  The words jumped out at me as I began to prepare myself for the meditation, reading the text and the centering thought of the day: 
"My little changes amount to big benefits." 

 Today, I think meditation is like adding to a retirement account. You start out doing what you can, and your deposit may only be a little at first.  Sometimes, the money seems to just sit there, not really growing much, but you keep on investing, and your cents, turn to dollars and you want to throw more in. And one day you notice, you've built up a little nest egg there. Readily available if you should need it. Consistent meditation practice works the same way.  The security of knowing you have that resource to turn to, helps you to know that you can cash in on some of that reserve, through prayer and then pay attention to the answers through intuition.  Meditation IS a practice and just like anything else we want to be better at, we have make time to hone the skill.  The rewards have been sweet. I pay attention to what my intuition is saying to me, and view synchronicity as a precious and anonymous gift from God, rather than a fluke.  I go on about the business of doing what I need, and want to do, and let go of my attachment to the outcome.  So freeing.  I am able to much better look beyond the costumes others are wearing (skinny, fat, rich, poor, ugly, beautiful) all just temporary garb in this earthly life and see the essence - the soul of others. This makes my connections so much more authentic.  People know I see them, hear them, and value them, non-judgementally.  I am clearly beginning to recognize that everything I desire is within me (Ram, Ram, Ram).   Everything. I am perfectly created. 

The greatest gift of all, is the recognition that while my essence is an eternal soul, I am still hanging out in an earthly body, and I can only do my best - five minutes, or an hour at a time.  Perhaps the real joy in prayer and meditation is the gradual unveiling and deepening of my relationship between myself and my Creator.  

Egotistically--- people are noticing a calmer, more balanced me!  I let that right brain frolic and play and the left brain rationalize and try to control and make practical sense of it all; knowing they'll both get tired and succumb to spending some quality time, in stillness, just listening, to the reassuring beating of my heart.  

Happy Easter.  May the message of this Holy time bring hope, renewal, enlightenment and love to your heart!