Meditation. I have never quite figured out how to do it. I mean, people say, “When you do your meditation…”, or “While meditating….” or “Do 20 minutes of meditating…”. But they never tell you how to meditate.
Recently I was at a very informative conference. I listened to a lecture by a well-known pseudo guru, actually, several pseudo gurus.
One of these wisemen/women (not to be construed as wiseacre), said that actual scientific evidence proved that the best way to increase your frontal lobe brain power, actually make it grow…was to meditate. And it just so happens that this is the part of your brain that contains your memory. Well, honey, that sold me right there. Just put that little ole’ dotted line in front of me!
This particular wiseacre, er. wiseperson, just happened to be selling a meditation CD. For the small price of $19.95 I would be on the way towards, peace, contentment and relaxation, not to mention a bigger frontal lobe.
I returned home from my pilgrimage and was anxious to begin my contemplation. I had heard the tape at the conference so was aware that there was a morning meditation as well as an evening one. The morning one consisted of 20 minutes of repeating the “AH” sound. And repeating and repeating and repeating it. “After your morning exercise”…whether it be yoga, walking, weights, whatever (yeah, right…how about after breakfast?) one was to find a quiet, comfortable space where they would not be disturbed. Not be disturbed? What if “undisturbed space” was an oxymoron in my house? I checked on the library, didn’t open early enough and I don’t think the patrons would be too crazy about me sitting in a corner with my legs crossed, repeating over and over, AHHHHHHHHHH. (Actually, on second thought, here in Santa Fe, I might have lots of company.)
The spare bedroom was the obvious choice. I had never thought of the spare bedroom as a hallowed, holy place, but you take what you can get. The only CD player I had was a portable one I had just bought the week before.
I lowered the shades and turned off the lights. I sat in the yoga position with my index finger and thumb touching. Just like I’d seen monks do it on TV. My knees were a little stiff, but I felt assured that too would pass. I closed my eyes and relaxed, breathing deep through my nose into my diaphragm. (For all you heathens out there, the diaphragm is NOT what you think it is.) It’s actually where our best, most efficient breathing originates. Nothing to do with birth control. I think it’s somewhere in the vicinity of the abdomen. Theoretically, you are supposed to actually see it “expand”, but since mine is in a constant state of expansion, it’s hard to tell.
As I said, I had closed my eyes, breathing deep, relaxing within the peacefulness of my inner sanctum, aka, spare bedroom. I was mellow. My kids would have been proud. One problem, I had not yet turned on the CD.
I open my eyes. All my hard earned solitude beat a hasty retreat. I didn’t know how to work the damn CD. Okay, lights on, glasses on, directions out.
The new portable CD required headphones. Headphones?? I’d never seen a monk meditating with headphones! Well, this was a first for me, but then meditating was a first for me. Okay, headphones it is. Once again, I lowered the shades, turned out the lights, returned to my yoga position, fingers just so, headphones just so.
And I AHHHHHHHHHed and I AHHHHHHHHHed and I AHHHHHHHHHed till I blew the house down. Oops, wrong story. I did feel more relaxed, and I had learned how to work the CD, so I would say, all in all, my first attempt at “correct” meditation was a success.
Fast forward to night time. The nighttime meditation was to be done lying down in bed. Ah, now this was my kind of meditation. You were to do it until your fell asleep, manifesting the things you want in life, thinking about specific things. Okay, I can do this. I thought about a new car, a new gas range, a trip to Hawaii, new patio furniture. I had my list, ready to get my money’s worth out of that CD. Alas, just as I was envisioning myself on the beaches of Waikiki, the little devil on my shoulder that had been jumping with glee, found himself totally flattened by the little angel. (It must have been that morning meditation) My nonmaterial side raised it’s ugly little head and said, “THAT is not what you are supposed to want out of life”. Okay, okay…whatever.
The evening mantra consisted of repeating over and over, the sound “OM”. (Rhymes with “home” without the “h”.) But you don’t often hear anyone saying, “Okay, I’ve got to leave now, I’m going OMMMMMMMMMMM”.
The stage is set for my nighttime meditation. I’m comfortable, it’s dark, it’s quiet, I’m alone, except for my cocker, who is snuggled up next to me, the headphones are in place as I breathe in deeply. As I release my breath, I vocalize the sound OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, very deeply, as I dream of peacefulness, contentment, love, all that angel stuff. Wow! This sounds really spooky. And I repeat it second time. And my furry, black cocker begins to howl like crazy. Sheesh. Where is that little devil on my shoulder when I need him?