Day 4: Meditation (Finally!!)
Today was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long long time. I woke up at 7:30, laid in bed, and just relaxed! It was amazing! This whole quarter I’ve been blessed with having to be at school at 11. For some reason though it’s always been a rushed and hectic morning with Noah and I getting to school just in time to rush to class. I think the lack of TV and Internet has made sleeping and generally going to bed much more of an achievable goal. Before I would be hooked to a new show or stuck on the Internet until around 2 or 3am before finally giving in to sleep. I must begrudgingly admit that this lifestyle is much more beneficial as it allows for me to think more productively, have a better attention span, and sleep easily and peacefully.
I’m not going to go as far as to say I’m banishing the carnal pleasures of Stumbling and Digg. And yes, when it comes to me and the internet it is not a mild addiction.
Still, mornings as New Age are not without troubles. Every morning I’ve been drinking lemon water, and it is beginning to remind me more and more of drinking vomit. It’s probably the acidity but I drink it very slowly which frustrates my mom since we both drink it and then do Yoga right after.
We tried the VHS tapes and they were pretty good. It was definitely more of an intense workout than before, but now that I’m really getting into this, I’m a bit disappointed in how it feels versus my expectations of it. I expected yoga to be a relaxing but invigorating experience that stretched and toned my body all at the same time. While I can imagine this happening eventually, I still felt a tightness in my hips and shoulders afterward that I was hoping to be alleviated.
I also have to admit I’m slightly deviating from the veganism. I’m giving myself the OK to eat ORGANIC, FREE RANGE, LOCALLY GROWN chicken eggs. My mom is vegan and eats them plus I feel the principle of not eating chicken eggs is that the chickens are still being treated poorly, which they obviously aren’t.
Don’t look at me like that!
Oh, and the toast is super organic and healthy too (Dave’s Killer Bread, if you haven’t tried it, go buy it immediately).
When I got to school today, I felt like all my progress with handling my emotions and keeping outside forces from affecting me completely melted away. I felt irritable and annoyed at other people and wanted everyone to leave me alone. I need to find a way to center myself when I’m losing control of my inner peace. I think that this is the point where I am pushed to become more vigilant about my meditation, yoga, and spiritual readings. Like other religions, I think New Age encourages self reflection which makes me realize when I lose control of my emotions and makes me want to better myself, pushing me further into the subculture.
I also finally got to wear a New Age(ish) outfit! I still had to wear a coat and my purse is not good for New Age but still its progress! It looked so convincing a lot people didn’t recognize me at first!
Not that I’m vain, its just not practical to show a picture of me looking flat out homely
I forgot to mention before that my mom got me some healing stones during a woman’s retreat over the weekend. One stone was called “Fluorite” and the other “Lepidolite”. Fluorite increases ability of concentration, to see both reality and behind the illusion. It is supposed to purify and cleanse. Lepidolite is for emotional healing, balance, purification, serenity, sleep, relaxation, and stress relief.
I think for now (until I can find another method) when I’m frustrated and losing control of my emotions I’ll grab these stones from in my pocket to remind me of my goal of inner peace. I perhaps should clarify that I’m not losing control of my emotions per se, I’m not having little meltdowns at whoever crosses my path or anything like that, and I couldn’t tell you if this experiment has made me better or worse. I just know when I’m getting angry inside and feel much more ashamed about it than before.
I also talked with some very helpful people about my project and will be talking to them more in the future. Someone helped me realize that it’s not only the physical appearance that makes people think of me as a New Age type of person but also the smell. No more spritz’s of perfume before leaving the car, I need some patchouli oil! I also talked to another woman about my issues with appearance and she recommended a medicine bag necklace. I’m not quite clear on what that is, but I know where I can find one. Needless to say, I have a lot of shopping to do this weekend.
Later that day Noah and I went to an Indian restaurant to get some dinner before our meditation session. The Indian restaurant was once again absolutely amazing. I honestly used to despise Indian food but lately the taste has grown on me. I wonder if it’s the New Age or just a coincidence…?
All I know is that I absolutely must learn how to make Naan bread. It is my new favorite carb. CRAP, I just looked up the recipe, it requires some milk…oh well, I’ll just use soy and oil instead of milk and butter.
It was too good to be true!
We also finally got to go and meditate at a really nice little chapel. I believe this is the Dhammakaya style of meditation. It wasn’t specified at the church what type of meditation it was but I did some research and I’m sure this is it. This church seems to have Thai origins, and I like the variety of people who came in. The people who seemed to have gone here regularly were very kind and pleasant.
I had no idea there were so many different types of meditation and while I want to try them all I think it will be best to stick with this church because it’s free and I’d like to become familiar with one type over the short period of time I can do this.
We did some yoga exercises before the meditation began and I was told I needed to point my feet away from the monk when he entered and put a sheet that was given to me over my lap. When the monk entered I felt nervous, but his demeanor was relaxed and content.
He showed us a diagram of what he called our 7 “stations”. His English wasn’t perfect though pretty good and I wondered if the word “stations” meant something deeper in his native Thai.
He told us that women must concentrate on the left nostril and men the right. Throughout the meditation we were supposed to envision a tiny crystal ball passing through these “stations” until it was to reach the 7th station (two finger’s width above the belly button) which was considered to be the center of the body.
When meditation began, I instantly was having problems. The monk told us to relax our whole bodies which I found impossible to relax my spine and arms when I was specifically instructed to sit up and position my arms a certain way.
Then the monk told us to breath in our positivity and out our negativity. It seemed like it would be easy enough, but when I tried it I ended up simply visualizing the words “Positive, happy” and “Negative, sad” and those words stayed in one place. I tried imagining faces of people who made me happy or angry but the people who made me angry stayed put as I exhaled. I felt really helpless.
After that, the monk instructed us to empty our minds. He said it as if all I needed to do was drop what I was holding, but I could not get near emptying my mind. I felt that whenever I got close, I would nearly fall off my chair because I was actually just falling asleep!
Throughout the 45 minutes of “meditating” I was simply sitting there, wondering if there was something wrong with me, was I incapable of meditation? Occasionally I would crack my toes and fingers out of impulse and sometimes I would almost teeter off my chair. It was in actuality a very stressful experience.
When we came out of meditation the monk asked everyone how it was. I felt much better about myself when I heard that everyone else was having troubles. I don’t know if anyone had as hard of a time as I did, but it was still good to know I wasn’t completely messed up.
I’ll continue to work hard at it, as I’ve been doing some research and meditation does have medical benefits. Also, seeing the people who really knew what they were doing made the stress and hard work seem to be worth it.
I’ve also put some books on hold at the library. I’m going to surprise you all with what they are specifically when they come in. Also, I may be revising published posts as I go along, I’ve been getting constructive criticism from people plus my Internet where I live is glacial at times so I usually wait until the next day while I’m at school to make revisions.