Thursday, February 7, 2008

Practicing Meditation

I have always wanted to meditate successfully. When I say "successfully," I mean drop into that zone of perfect bliss, that zone where I am one with divinity or God, where all the mundane worries of the world just fall away, and I float in perfect wisdom.

However, to date, whenever I have meditated, I have quieted my mind only long enough to receive....a to-do list. Just when it seems I have put away all thoughts of the husband that I miss (he is away on business), the spa business that I LOVE but fret over, the children that I do not have yet (but want very much), I start hearing, "Did you remember to call so-and-so? You have to take delivery of her product soon," or "Remember to sit down one-on-one with such-and-such employee to talk about her behavior," or even, "Are we out of toilet seat covers at the spa? Shoot!" And then I choose to become absorbed in the to-do list, and fall out of attempting to meditate altogether. And lie awake at night, tracing the whorls on the ceiling with open eyes.

So I would not choose to label my "meditations" as successful. Then this past Superbowl Sunday, I went to my lovely friend Teri's house (yes, Teri is the psychic/intuitive on my staff, who has her own very lovely blog) to watch the game, and her roommate, Bobbi, lent me a book, called "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I should make a disclaimer here that the book is actually Teri's, but Bobbi said that Teri would never read it, so it should be okay for me to just snatch it and read it and she probably wouldn't even notice. Bobbi said the book was amazing, transcendental.

And it was. I can't believe I'd never heard of this book before. It was absolutely amazing. More importantly, I think I learned how to meditate from it. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, also had problems meditating, but she was taught to use a mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya." Her Guru taught her that if she repeats the mantra over and over in her mind, it gives the mind something to do, a task, so that it does not interfere with the true voice of the heart that comes up during meditation. I believe that "Om Namah Shivaya" means "I bow to the divinity within me," or something that contains the recognition that I have something wonderful and lasting and surpassing inside of me.

I've tried the mantra for two nights now, and while I have not gotten THERE, to that peaceful and serene center of the universe, I have been able to at least recognize the to-do list thoughts as they came. My mind, apparently, cannot keep up a mantra AND make a to-do list simultaneously. I feel like I'm standing over home plate (my meditation) like a batter, and as each unwanted, to-do list thought comes pitching in to my serene space, I swing that bat and send it flying way, way, way...above? Out? Away. Just way, way, way, way away then.

So I have made a little progress, after all. And after several swings, I fell asleep. Which I will not judge, since I must have needed to sleep, obviously. I guess this is why it is called practicing meditation...which is what I intend to do every night.

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