Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meditation 102

I wish I understood the physiology behind mindful meditation.  I can feel that its effects are real.  I just don't understand how it happens.

I was delayed at Michael's, caught up in the multiplicity of choices for FlapJilly's crocheted layettes.  If anyone is looking for a project, creating an attractive pink yarn might be right at the top of your list.  The skeins in the bins this afternoon were harsh, or rough or paler-than-pale; nothing jumped out and said buy me.  So, I wandered up and down the aisles, fondling and cogitating and then it was seventeen minutes until I had to be in the Kewitt Auditorium, prepared to commune with myself. 

I checked out with what was in my cart.  I'll figure out what to make with it later on.

Leaving my car with the free valet parking service at the UAMC main entrance, hugging the woman who took my family's cars while I was an in-patient and who took mine when I was able to drive to my own appointments and who is always impressed with the progress I am making, I strode across the sidewalk and up the ramp and across the plaza.

I strode. 

It's taken me three years of rehab to be able to type that sentence. I entered the auditorium filled with pleasant surprise.  I grabbed a small afghan, remembering how cool the room feels after sitting quietly for a while, put my legs in half-lotus, my hands in Anjali mudra, and I began to breathe.  My eyes were down-cast, not quite closed.  I tried to shut out the bustling of the others as I settled into my chair.

The back rest is movable.  I didn't realize that.  Starting over after my momentary discombobulation, I recognized a smile on my face.  The uncertainty of an unstable resting space had not sent me spiraling into PTSD; that's a first in a long while.  There was something in the room, an aura, an energy, that was healing and comforting and safe.  I may have lost my balance, but I was still centered.

The social worker described the practice, asked for questions, looked for comments about meditation-and-the-wee-just-past, and then we closed our eyes and breathed.  Fifteen minutes went by in a flash; I didn't have a chance to become bored or uncomfortable.  My mind wandered, but I didn't judge.  I felt the breath on the back of my throat, I felt my eyelids resting gently on my eyeballs, and I was at peace.

It was quite a change from the rushing and driving and striding of the previous thirty minutes.  I was aware of the difference, but, again, I didn't judge.  I just felt the feelings, letting them wash over me and out into the ether.  There seemed to be a lot of that going on; there was a lot of energy in the room.

Today we did a mindful walking meditation.  Some, like me, were in socks. Some wore shoes.  Some didn't leave their seats.  Slowly, carefully, heel, ball, toe leaving the earth and reconnecting, over and over, with precision and thoughtfulness and care, we walked around the room. 

I didn't fall over.  I didn't lose my balance.  I put weight on my injured leg and it held me up, weakly and noisily at first and then, as we made the first turn at the back of the rows of chairs, I was free.  there was no fear.  There was no clicking... of ligaments or arthritis or anything... in my hip joint.  My toes were bending and my ankles were engaged and I could feel the musculature of my legs working in synchronicity.

It was marvelous.

We sat down.  Announcements were made.  The final meditation sutra was repeated, sending joy and love and peace to ourselves, loved ones, strangers, patients, those with whom we have issues. And then, I retrieved my car and drove, slowly, carefully, mindfully, home.

As I type to you right now, a little more than an hour after the practice ended, I have, as I did last week, a sense of calmness radiating from my heart.  It's warm and nourishing and strengthening and I don't know where it's come from but I do know that I'm liking it a lot.

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