(A variation of this post was originally published in 2013 as part of a 21-day meditation challenge. Like most daily challenges, I didn’t complete it.)
I’m finally trying to meditate. Unlike my former yoga peers who occasionally drifted into light slumber during final relaxation, I’ve yet to master meditation. My mind becomes disobedient because it refuses to silence and my body involuntarily moves because I subconsciously feel a random mosquito grazing on my left elbow, which indirectly causes my nape to itch and my right calf to spasm. Three years later I’ll watch an episode of The Haunting and listen to a woman recount how she went so deeply within that she resurfaced with something dark and dangerous.
I wasn’t trying to end up tormented and traumatized. However as I journey along this intersectional path of purpose and passion, I understand that meditation and prayer are maps to confirmation and clarity.
But fortunately for that particular day’s challenge, my task is to only reflect on my inner dialogue. Deepak Chopra stated that he meditates for two hours but obviously realizing he was talking to mind-control virgins, he quickly added that 15-20 minutes should suffice.
I lay down on my side, my left arm crooked at my not-itchy-in-real-life elbow, my left hand is numb by my heavy head. My heart races. I attribute it to the fact that I’ve just carried an overfilled laundry basket of clean clothes.
Deepak said to not manipulate the breathing; it'll regulate itself. I found the statement slightly contradictory to what my old yoga instructor told her classes partly because what we think heavily influences our breathing. I can’t possibly think anxious and frustrating thoughts but expect my breath to stabilize at the same time.
“Allow the thought to enter your mind,” our instructor always advised.
She told us to entertain it and then release it.
“As you exhale,” she continued, “allow the stresses of the day to leave with each breath.”
But my stresses at the time were often relentless. They enveloped me, screamed in my ears, punched me in my back, pushed me in my chest and smacked me in my face. I couldn’t seem to escape them.
I try to breathe the way my friend and co-worker, a former Reiki instructor, taught me.
My heartbeat momentarily slows down. My limbs relax.
I sink deeper into the bed. I listen to the fan twirling and whirring in the background.
I decide to allow my thoughts to appear since Deepak advised against shushing them.
So what's my next blog entry again? Oh yeah, the one on experiencing joy.
My heart takes a “ready, set” stance.
Hmm what should I pitch to Clutch?
And then my heart rate is gone.
Concentrate on breath, Tee.
Shouldn't I see some stars, circles, flowers or butterflies or something?
I pretend the sound of the fan is the ocean. I visualize my then recent beach trip. I had forgotten my notebook but I remembered my camera. The sun is soon setting. My feet track across loose sand to the low-rolling waves. Cool water kisses my feet, retreating with merely a peck, eroding my footsteps in its path. Near the horizon, an old, rusty ship sleeps under a goldenrod blanket. I listen to the laps and my heart stabilizes once more.
“How's your writing going?” a voice suddenly interjects.