In which it’s all about meditation

Do you meditate, chickens? I confess I’m a fickle practitioner. I know I should; I always feel better when I do–centered and grounded and all those other New Age words that sound a little woo-hoo but simply mean I feel more at peace. I have experimented with the props, the incense and candles and eye bag and little chime. I’ve experimented with positions–sitting cross-legged, sitting in a chair, lying down. I’ve used guided meditations and done it on my own.

The results can be mixed. I’ve had meditations that finished with me feeling jangly and irritated–always after being interrupted. And I’ve had meditations that were so tranquil I went into a state of such relaxation I was neither here nor there. (Those have always been guided. I never seem to be able to do that on my own.) But I’ve always struggled with the idea that there must be a “right” way to meditate and that I’m getting it wrong and therefore my results are all over the map.

Until I read Kimberly Wilson’s thoughts on meditation in her book, TRANQUILISTA. Kimberly is an entrepreneur, yoga instructor, podcaster, philanthropist, and author–oops, forgot fashion designer!–among other things, and she presents a no-nonsense approach to having it all, the enlightened life of thoughtful contemplation AND chandelier earrings. In her bit on meditation, she points out that THERE IS NO PERFECTION. It’s all practice. And your job during meditation is simply to notice and acknowledge what is happening. See the monkey-thoughts scampering in the trees and just BE with those little scamps. Notice your breathing, how your body feels. The only point of the meditation is simply to exist and not drift into memory–the past–or worry–the future. The only concern is the present.

It seemed so simple and so fool-proof that I set an alarm on my phone to let me know when ten minutes had passed and got comfy and closed my eyes. I marked my breathing. I acknowledged the little monkey thoughts frolicking in the trees and brought my thoughts back to my breathing. And then a strange thing happened. With a few minutes left in the meditation, I started to think about the people I love. I visualized wrapping them each in golden light. And then I thought about someone who hurt me recently. Without intending it or planning for it or anticipating it, I wrapped her up too. I sent her forgiveness and love without having the slightest idea that I would feel the need to do that. It simply flowed out of the peace I was feeling in the moment–and it’s the sort of thing I don’t remember ever doing during a meditation before.

I did the same with every person I could remember who had hurt me. I wrapped them up in golden light, like a big balloon, and then I cut the cord on each of them, sending them on their way with perfect serenity. Does that mean anything to them? Most likely not. But here’s the thing it did for me: after several very long days of very exhausting work, I was tapped out. I had a massive final push to read through my manuscript one more time and polish it up before submitting it. I didn’t have the energy or the desire to do this, only the obligation.

Until I meditated. When I was finished, I felt alert, happy, energetic, and optimistic. I tackled my manuscript and worked eight hours straight with brief breaks to eat. I finished it with serenity and satisfaction. I made my deadline, sending the book in at half past five in the afternoon.

So, the moral of this for me is that meditation doesn’t have to be structured or formal or difficult or guided or complicated. It can be as easy as ten minutes of simply being PRESENT for yourself–and it is indeed a present, one that keeps on giving.

5 thoughts on “In which it’s all about meditation”

  1. melanie says:

    Thank you for this reminder that meditation need not be difficult – namaste!

  2. Bonnie Mintz says:

    Thanks, Deanna, of reminding me to again take up the practice to meditate. I remember it really made me centered in this rush, rush, rush world!! I agree with so much you say and I remember at first the “monkey mind” I had but after practice I was able to focus and just “be”. In every blog you post there is always something to think about and I want to thank you for your wisdom!


  3. Moira says:

    Wise words on perfection! It is certainly one of my weaknesses and I think that’s the reason I have better results with guided meditations. I’ll need to check Tranquilista out!

  4. wendy kelly says:

    It’s wonderful you were able to find a peaceful place! I used to have a wonderful yoga guru and loved that “afterglow” when it was done. It definitely helps one find the perspective one needs. And, I’m willing to bet the positive energy you sent with those little balloon thoughts was felt by every person you wrapped in golden light. Believe it.

  5. Carroll Robinson says:

    I ordered this from a catalog called “Gaelsong” hand lettered from Ireland and also have this on my wall: “Take time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.” Thought I’d share—And sometimes one can sit outside at quiet times of the day or night and feel the peace and at one with nature and yourself–of course right now down here we are hot hot hot and muggy muggy muggy and i marvel at the reporters up the road in Sanford reporting on the trial up there for not looking bedraggled, dripping and like something the cat dragged in—Was watching Ashley Banfield the other night with probably 99 per cent humidty in the air -and am only exaggerating a little bit–and marvelling at how her hair and makeup and everything looked as if she were in a studio at 60 odd 70? degrees-I had just come in and my hair was platered in my face —I have to give kuddos to the make up and what ever else people down here who do that —-We are having an especially wet, muggy and hot summer—but the plants love it. Happy 4th a day late

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