Meditation has long been a part of me. The thinking of it, that is, not its' actual practice. The concept of quieting the clutter, alluring. The concept, for me, also as vast as the sea. One day, this past summer, my email chimed. I had chosen the soft meditation sound long before the universe aligned my stars to that days' INBOX. It contained an invitation to a twenty-one day guided mediation series with Deepak Chopra. Certainly unwise, I thought, to decline an invitation from the universe and tapped it open.
I stretched upon the ground of Riverside Park. Tree leaves dancing shadows behind my closed eyelids. There was accomplishment in that first twenty-minutes of meditation. I accomplished a thoughtful to-do list for the day. I took in the rivers' scent. And I decided to purchase a pair of red shoes. That done, I waited for the ending chime. Eternity settled into the next fifteen minutes. Where was the ending chime? I blinked at my phone to check how many milliseconds of this I had to go. Quite a few milliseconds in fact. Whispering the manta. Wondering if I was saying it correctly. If I did not say it correctly would the universe still be benevolent? But I suppose it is much like not knowing the correct lyrics even to my favorite rock songs. I still sing them. Joyously, loudly and with great confidence. And so I persevered. The issue with having a meditation chime as your email alert is having an actual email come in when you are attempting to meditate. Which is was happened. I read the email, admonished myself for doing so and settled back in. Again, CHIME. Though this chime coming from Mr. Chopra. I was released. Day one. Hurray Namaste.
The following twenty-days tangled moments of ease and unease. When I could not quiet my mind I attempted to quiet my body. Is that a traditional meditation technique? I did not know or care. It was mine. I imagine there are as many ways to reach enlightenment as there are individual grains of sand. Intent on following the waves of my breath, I began to imagine myself floating upon them. At first I watched this woman of ease from the shoreline. A familiar stranger. Slowly I became her. This woman, momentarily content in not resisting the tide. I noticed my face softening. My jaw giving way to a smile before slacking. The chime began to come as a surprise and on occasion an intrusion upon my reverie.
Somewhere in the mix of this twenty-one day celebration an unexpected guest arrived. Laughter. One day, Mr. Chopra gently suggested that I approach my day without judgement and attempt to remain there throughout. A helpful recitation of the things I might possibly be tempted to judge followed. All sound suggestions. However, with all due respect, Mr. Chopra did not include me on the list. I reserve my harshest judgements for myself. I wanted on that list. And I put myself on it. I consciously avoid all judgements today including judgement of the persistent gray- haired-broad who is my constant companion. In that moment I sighed. Oh, Deepak, this is going to be quite difficult. The sigh turned to a smile. The smile to laughter. Laughter in the midst of such seriousness? Tsk-Tsk, Dee. Laughter is not enlightened. Or is it? Perhaps meditation is not meant to hold such seriousness. Self-serious is the antitheses of ease. It brims with judgement.
Twenty-one days down and however many I am gifted to go. Am I in a seamless state of serenity, scheduling my flight to an Ashram? I am not. But I have begun to pack the essentials. Perhaps mediation is not as vast as the sea. Only as vast as I allow myself to sail.