Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I meditated for the first time TODAY

Mrauk-U, Myanmar circa March 2017

I've read about so many successful people who meditate. It cannot be a coincidence that those who fare so well in life (at least to the public's perception) practice this ancient ritual. And for a long time, I've wanted to try it. I didn't know how except for what I've read. And I thought that my mind was not prepared for something so deep. In books, the process is so simple but everyone cautions how difficult it is to tame the mind, even for just a few minutes. But if this is what people who I highly regard are doing, I wanted to know why, how, and what the impact would be to my life. 

To be honest, I don't know why I decided to do it now. Maybe it's because I started to read the "Zen Master" - Phil Jackson's book entitled Eleven Rings or if it's because I just completed reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams. But I decided to do it. 

A few tips that I learned: 

  • don't drink coffee before you meditate
  • blow your nose before you begin
  • find a relaxed position (but if you don't, your body will adjust through the meditation)
Most mornings, I'm alone in the kitchen after I've walked the dogs and taken my medication. I typically use this time to read because of how peaceful and quiet this time can be. I did read for about half an hour but then suddenly had the urge to try out meditation. 

Consciously, I told myself I would try the simplest form - breathing. I closed my eyes. And I concentrated on the inhale and exhale of my breath. Trying to keep my mind from wandering, I said to myself, "in in in in in" as brought oxygen into my body... then "out out out out out" as I relieved myself of carbon dioxide. And I repeated this over and over and over. 

At the beginning, I could see my eyes fluttering. I could feel my eyeballs moving around behind my eyelids. I could "see" the colors changing as if watching the silhouette of objects behind a curtain. It's like REM except you're awake. I could feel my mind try to stray away from "in in in in in" and "out out out out out." My mind would try to "think" about if my breathing was right, if I was comfortable, what was my body doing? At first I was uncomfortable. My nose was a little stuffed. I could imagine my nostrils being slightly clogged. I "felt" that my body was not in the "perfect" position. My shoulders were too tight and high. My neck was stiff. 

But as I continued to breathe "in in in in in" and "out out out out out" I could feel my body settle. What?! How did that happen? Then my "vision" became white. I was realizing (which I shouldn't have been realizing) that my eyeballs had stopped their rapid movement. I was "seeing" just light come through my eyelids. I could feel my body adjust itself to correct the uncomfortable feeling. My shoulders relaxed; my head tilted down to relieve my neck of discomfort. And I was getting into a rhythm. Strangely, I was conscious of this, but I was also conscious of my breathing. Is that possible? I could "hear" myself thinking "in in in in in, out out out out out." 

I did this for some time. Not knowing how much time, I just opened my eyes. I looked at the clock, and I think 10 minutes or so had passed. And at the same time, I felt a weird sensation in my body. It felt something similar to when you have high blood pressure (which I do) and you get up too fast, you become dizzy. Except in this case, I didn't feel dizzy. I think what I felt was all the oxygen being disbursed throughout my body, as if all the "in in in in ins and out out out out outs" were contained only in my lungs and brain while my eyes were closed. And then when I opened them my brain distributed them to the rest of my organs and limbs. In a way, I was momentarily paralyzed by the breakthrough back to reality and my present self. 

After a few seconds I felt comfortable and relaxed. It was a strangeness that I've never felt before. It was surreal. I can only liken it to waking up from a great, restful sleep. But that's only close and not exact. And I liked it. I'm almost certain that I will do this again. 

Am I crazy? Or is this what it's like to meditate? 

Have any of you experienced this? Please share with me. I'm a newb.

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