Mind over matter

Today was my very first mediation class. A one-on-one session, which seemed intimidating at first. My mind has been cluttered for a while and over a period of time, if you don’t undo the clutter, then you begin to feel it weighing down on your life. There were so many things going on at the same time. At some point I felt like a drowning person resurfacing for that desperate draw of air. 

I knew if I didn’t do something soon, then I’d drown in the whirlwind of life. The urge to do nothing was on my to-do list, strangely.  It kept pushing itself upwards at every given opportunity and I very promptly put a lid on it. How do I justify an hour of doing nothing when there was so much to be done. 

I began noticing over a period of time that my mental faculties weren’t as sharp and alive as I wanted them to be. I could for instance, look at the world as I drove by and create poetry in my head. Simple two or three lines that would help me appreciate the simpler things in life. It made me happy. My most precious moments when I drive are the ones with mothers and their children–crossing the street, shopping at the store, taking a walk in the park etc. But somewhere it suddenly snapped. I couldn’t create. You know what they say about it? “Creating means living.” I was unable to create and I tried very, very, very hard. I simply could not. It hit me hard. Something had died and living is not for the dead…or so I’ve heard it said.

So one evening with Neil in tow, I walked up to the meditation center right behind where we live. Murthy welcomed me inside the ashram and asked me to sit down and spoke to me. He asked if I could seriously commit to the program. He handed me a book on divinity and sent me off. He asked me to think deeply about what he had said and asked me to call him if I decided to get on board. 

I let the book sit and let everything else take over. I felt the pressure begin to pile up again. I called him last morning and asked him if I could come. He asked me to be there before sunrise. Something I haven’t done in years. While the city slept and everything around me was still and dark, I went up to the entrance. Murthy was standing at the gate to welcome me 

He asked, “Are you ready for the journey?”

I replied, “I am.”

He said, “Please say the prayer and close your eyes. When I say that’s all, please open your eyes.”

Quietly we said the prayer together in our minds and we closed our eyes. As soon as I closed my eyes, I could feel a sense of calm take over. It was so peaceful and blissful. This lasted for about 5 seconds.

Then it started. It started with a simple statement to myself. This is so simple. I’ve emptied my mind. I felt like I had cleaned out a puddle with a leaking rooftop. Just when things were emptied,  little trickles began to settle in. Thirty long minutes of sitting erect and doing nothing is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My mind was like a hundred rivulets trying to rush towards an opening larger than itself. It scattered and scampered to a hundred different places. I could not for a minute stop thinking. I could hear the sounds around me. Two birds intermittently broke the spell every few minutes and pierced the early morning stillness. I could hear the distant humming of a motor somewhere. I could feel my back getting stiff. Each bone on my spine felt weighed down by the other. 

I could feel my eyelids pressed down and my eyeballs moving excitedly within the calm recess of my eyes. I wanted to open them. I did not. I wanted to know how much time was left, but stifled the urge to ask. I couldn’t hear myself breathe, so I focussed on deep breathing. I could feel the elusive light lurking behind the dark mountains inside my mind waiting to peek out. It did every once in a while. I was beginning to feel the peace and quiet take over again. Like a melodious alarm, I heard Murthy say, “that’s all.” My eyes flew open instantly and felt light, super light when just a few minute ago they felt heavy as led. I don’t think I figured something sensational for myself today. 

Tomorrow will be another adventure of mind over matter. Until then, stay still my beating heart.