Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Gift of Desperation

Out of complete desperation, I began meditating, in early December of 2013.  

In October, of that same year, attempting to out run my problems, I fled to my home state of Texas, to stay with my family.  Realizing that, I had met myself at the Houston bus station, two months later, I scrambled back to to San Diego.  I was losing my mind.  A debilitating frenetic energy teemed within me.  It had my skin crawling, my legs bouncing, and my mind racing in panic.  In a short time, I ran fifteen hundred miles to Houston and fifteen hundred miles back to San Diego, in my inadequate effort to eliminate myself of me, all the while prolonging my pain.  And there I was, at a crisis house, in Oceanside, broke, alone, no where to go and out of ideas.  

A darkness overwhelmed me.  My body was polluted with chemicals and negative thoughts.  The necessary strength and fortitude to reclaim my life was not there.  Any fight, that once lied inside of me, was finished.  The fight against alcohol, against mental and physical illness, against the ex boyfriend, against my family, against my mortality, all of it - gone.  I was down for the count.  

My counselor, Jim, invited me to a group he would be leading, in a guided meditation, that evening. I accepted the invite, all the while knowing, I'd never go.  Smiling politely, I thanked him and went back to bed. My only plan was to sleep into oblivion.  Yet, next thing I knew, I was in the group, settling into a mahogany, leather, over sized chair, while tears streamed down my face.  


Sinking into the cushion, I was reminded how much I dreaded being awake.  Soft instrumental music played in the background. It was impossible for me to sit still for longer than five minutes without being overtaken by exhaustion.  Jim stood and turned off the lights.  He asked us to close our eyes and to begin to focus on our breath.  He then asked us to visualize ourselves in a green lush forest, sitting near a pile of leaves, next to a stream.  He asked us to take a few moments to smell the air.  To feel the soft grass between our toes, and to listen to the stream water moving.   

Jim acknowledged thoughts were still going to arise for us.  We were to acknowledge our thoughts without judgement.  And when the thoughts arose, we were to place the thought upon a leaf (from the pile next to us), set it in the stream, and watch it sail away.  

My thoughts assaulted me:  

What am I going to do?  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream, and watched it sail away.

I'm never going to make it.  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream, and watched it sail away.

He doesn't love me anymore.  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream and watched it sail away.

After a few minutes of practicing the visualization, Jim invited us to open our eyes and come back to the room.  Relaxed, I immediately went back to my room and lied in bed.  Alone, in the dark, my thoughts mugged me again:

What am I going to do?  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream, and watched it sail away.

I'm never going to make it.  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream and watched it sail away.

He doesn't love me anymore.  I placed the thought on the leaf, set it in the stream, and watched it sail away.

It's been over four months since I first attended that guided meditation group.  My meditation practice has grown to, at least, one thirty minute sitting a day.  No longer in a crisis house, and I am about to move into my own apartment again.  I am part of a grant writing internship and will soon be training to teach yoga.  

My thinking has come into focus and I have the realization of a loving God, that is within.  Wherever I go, He is and I have tapped into a strength and courage I have never known.  I have far from arrived, but I have new found hope in my ability as a human being.  All I need to do is sit, close my eyes, breathe, and awaken, once more, to the stillness deep inside.

    

  

   

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