My friend and I reached the top of the hilly incline to a viewpoint that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The vastness of the ocean view and the sound of the waves was something to meditate on. I set my maroon colored water bottle on the ground beside me and sat down on a big boulder, asking my friend if she’d mind if I meditated for a few minutes. She gave me the go ahead, “of course not, that’s a great idea!” I closed my eyes and became aware of touch points–my bottom on the boulder, my feet planted firmly on the ground, and my right hand cupped in my left hand with the back of my hands on my lap. When I felt 100% grounded, I started focusing on my breath, the cold air gently moving up through my nostrils and the warm air moving out. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes again.
“Sooooo, how do you meditate exactly?” My friend questioned. I hadn’t realized that my friend of fifteen years didn’t actually know what I was doing on the boulder. “Do you just try to think of nothing?” She asked. I felt a surge of excitement in my belly and started telling her about all that I had been learning about meditation since I moved to Oregon six months prior. Moving to a new state without a job secured and not knowing a single soul was a pretty traumatic shock to my system, but had I not pushed myself to do it, I don’t think I would have landed on the path that brought me to a practice that has brought me the most healing in my life: the practice of meditation.
After stopping a tobacco addiction, an addiction to pills, and ending a long-term relationship with an alcoholic over the course of time between my sixteenth and twenty-sixth years on this planet, coming to Oregon alone was like a re-birth into a new life. I forced myself to join community groups and among them, found a meditation group that met every Tuesday. I had been reading a lot of self-help books about meditation and listening to a guided meditation CD that my mom gifted me with before I made my trek from the Midwest to the West Coast. At the Tuesday night meditation group, I learned so much more about meditation and am forever grateful for the veteran teacher that created the group.
I explained to my friend about what I do during my meditation, that I constantly pay attention to my in-breath and out-breath (I do the Vipassana technique, one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.) That thinking about nothing isn’t the purpose of my meditation, the purpose is to become aware. Stories, ideas, to-do lists, what someone said to me earlier that day that hurt me, someone that I need to contact later, and many other things will come up in my meditation. The point though is to not get stuck or attached to any of those things, to just be aware of them and continually coming back to breath, to presence. Eventually, with a daily practice, you truly become aware of the nature of the mind and how easy it is to come back into the moment of NOW with the breath.
The practice of meditation has helped and healed me so much, layers upon layers of my self have been coming off. Just when I think that I have come to the deepest aspects of my soul, of consciousness, new ideas and concepts come to me. Out of all the travels that I have done, meditation has been the most intense journey out of all of them. It hasn’t been easy picking up this practice, but I can definitely tell you that it has been worth it. I want to help people bring this healing modality into their lives, so anytime a friend asks me about….it’s guaranteed I will turn into a motor mouth and this blog is another avenue in how I want to help people with this. If this post has helped even just one person in getting interested in meditation….then I have done my job. 🙂