Many people become intimidated by the thought of meditating even though it has many benefits. “I can’t sit still that long”, “I tried to clear my mind but then I think about other stuff”, “There is no quiet place in my home to meditate…too many distractions”. The list goes on.
My journey in meditation began with anxiety attacks. You know…the kind when you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding, can’t catch your breath and you sit up in bed and rock back and forth like a lunatic until you calm down all the while trying to figure out what brought this on. After some months of this going on, choppy sleep at best, little sleep at worst I knew I needed to do something. A woman I went to for readings suggested I check out a meditation temple near where I lived. Hey, what did I have to lose?
The temple was all white, inside and out. The walls were white paint, the carpet was white, no distractions by a pesky thing called color. Shoes were left outside. When you entered you knew you entered someplace holy. My busy mind and I went in, found a place to sit and joined other people who were already seated on the floor. Monks in saffron robes entered through a side door and sat cross legged at the front of the room. I had no idea what to expect next.
I hadn’t noticed previously but everyone had either books or handouts in their possession and from these books they began chanting in Sanskrit. I tried to keep up, looking in one of the books a Buddhist nun gave me. After a while I just let it go, relaxed, closed my eyes and went with the monotone drone of the chanting. Next thing I knew it was forty-five minutes later and silent. You could hear a pin drop on the carpet. I don’t know where I was transported to during the chanting but I remember seeing a bright light shining on me and feeling incredible peace.
At the end of the hour and a half one of the monks encouraged everyone to share their experience if they wished. No two experiences were the similar. However, what was the same was the pervading feeling of peace. Whether the person drifted off to sleep or heard, saw or felt something each person had a deep feeling of peace at the end.
I essentially floated home on this wave of love and peace. I slept soundly for the first time in months. The next morning I knew if this is the effect of meditation I am in!