For me, it’s easy for my life to begin feeling chaotic. Between the stresses of puberty 2.0, settling in a new city, starting a company, finding a job, etc., it can be very hard for me to feel relaxed or centered. And people have different ways of relaxing. Finding one’s center is important for mental and emotional health. While the process may be different for each person, I wanted to explain mine.
So, let’s start by clarifying what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about meditation. Meditation is my chosen method for reorganizing my thoughts, feelings, and essence. And I have a very particular and interesting method for doing so. And in return, I’ve gained some very interesting…abilities, I suppose you could call them.
I know, I know, dear reader. This is starting to sound like some far-fetched X-men nonsense. But bear with me, and I’ll explain what I mean.
First, I need to start by explaining my process, and the first step to any meditation is setting the scene. Now, different people find it easiest to meditate in different situations or settings. For me, my preference is to sit under a waterfall with the water cascading over me. Of course, it’s hard to find a waterfall that a girl can sit under in the middle of Seattle, so I tend to sit in my shower. However, my second choice is to sit on my bed in my room, listening to sounds of rain or calming far eastern music. My third choice is pure, black, silence.
Once I have the setting in place, be it shower or silence, I like to start by some basic breathing. Once I have my basic breathing in place, I can move on to the heart of the matter: The goal.
The goal of my meditation is to center myself; to organize my thoughts and feelings, and place them somewhere better suited for processing. However, what’s interesting is what happens within my mind in order to facilitate this goal.
Once my breathing is in place, I begin to clear my mind and focus – not on thoughts – but on….truths. I focus on the feel of my body. Feel my heart beating, my lungs working. Feel every drop of water on my skin, every movement of air. Drop all thoughts and listen to the sounds around me.
Once the mind is clear, something interesting begins to happen. Now, before I go further, I want to explain that this wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t “make” this happen. It just…did. I begin to experience something I like to call my “mind study”. It’s a form of the ‘method of loci‘, better known as the ‘mind palace method’. When my mind has been sufficiently cleared and I sit on a pure white plane, devoid of experience and thought, the mind study appears behind me. All I need do is turn around to see it.
In this study, there are 2 walls and a ceiling. As far as I can tell, it’s still incomplete. But on the far wall, there is a large set of french windows, consisting of 3 full windows with white trim. To the left (facing the windows) is a full wall bookshelf with various books, but it is full of empty spaces. In the center of the room, but towards the back near the french windows is a large oak desk. To the left of the desk is a beverage cart that holds a crystal bowl, a carafe with fresh water and some glasses. There is also a record player closer to the bookshelf. The ceiling is ornately decorated with what appears to be tin art deco ceiling tiles like you might see in a New York skyscraper, circa 1920, and the floor is laid with herring-bone pattern hardwood.
On the large oak desk sits an assortment of papers, pictures, folders, etc. These represent the conscious thoughts and worries that I carry day to day, as well as the next step in my meditation process. The goal at this stage is to organize the desktop, putting the papers in the correct folders or drawers, filing them away and in order of importance. There are currently folders for things like “Transition Related”, “ArcLight Board Co.”, “Concerning the Future” and a few others. As I clear the desk and organize the papers scattered across it, an inlaid glass pane is revealed.
Once the desktop is cleared, the glass pane begins to glow, almost like an LCD screen, a la 1982 “Tron”. But instead of turning on like a computer display, a holographic image is projected approximately 12-18 inches above the desktop. The image projected is always of a cluster of stars that approximate the form of a galaxy.
Now, the type of galaxy projected is very important. The ideal form is a spiral galaxy, like the Milky Way. But frequently, it will appear as an aging elliptical galaxy. From what I can tell, each “star” represents a subconscious thought, feeling, or emotion. Each one has a specific position in the spiral form, but as I begin to be bogged down with certain subconscious thoughst or feelings like depression or anxiety, etc, they drift out of place and begin to red-shift like aging stars.
As such, this second stage of meditation focuses on placing the stars back into place and reorganizing the galaxy. Now, as I say this, I want to make it clear, I don’t know what every star represents. Just as some stars have specific names like “Betelgeuse” or “Procyon”, some of them I am able to deduce based on the position or apparent age as ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. etc. But most are unknown to me, specifically. However, the general structure of the galaxy is known, and so I am able to reorganize these stars, even if I don’t know their specific designations.
Once my galaxy has been restructured and rebalanced as a spiral galxy, I am able to move on to the third and simplest stage of meditation, which is the final stage.
Now, as everyone knows, I am definitely a Star Wars nerd. And while I am somewhat ashamed to admit this, I feel it is important to note. See, many of the Jedi teachings and philosophies have a very appropriate place and valuable teachings in our own lives. And as such, while I don’t believe in an “all powerful Force”, I do believe in a certain “mystical energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” And this force that binds us all is the natural positivity in the universe.
A therapist of mind first suggested the idea of the universe’s natural tendency to a certain positivity. All we have to do is accept it, align ourselves with it, and “go with the flow”, and the “correct” things will happen. Fight it, and we become unhappy, our lives filled with misery and a feeling of incompleteness.
So, the third and final stage is to reconnect with the living force of the universe. And I like to do so in the same way that Obi-wan taught Luke Skywalker to do so (in one of the Star Wars novels; I know this is sounding crazy, but bear with me.) When my galaxy is reorganized and the holographic display shuts off, I walk to the beverage cart, pick up the carafe of water and the crystal bowl and bring them to the desk.
The crystal bowl is usually never completely full. Sometimes it is completely empty, other times it is half full, but clear. And on occasion, the water is dirty and grimy. The crystal bowl represents my current connection to the living force, or natural positivity of the universe. The dirtier the water, the more tainted my connections. Likewise, the lower the water level, the weaker my connection. So my goal here is to pour water from the carafe into the bowl until the bowl is clear and full. Once I have done so, I have restored my connection to the living force.
And that’s it. As soon as I finish the third stage, I am able to bring myself out of my meditation and I feel so much better. More connected to the world around me, my thoughts organized, and my spirit centered.
But it’s important to note that this is my personal method for meditating. And it’s always changing. For instance, my mind study? It changed just a couple weeks ago. The record player appeared just over 3 weeks ago, and I’m not yet sure what it’s purpose is for. Vegetation has recently appeared outside the french windows, and the desk has a new drawer built in to the left side (when sitting at it) that I cannot yet open. The beverage cart, while not exactly new, has not been around for long either. It appeared just 4 or 5 months ago, or so. And the galaxy sports a new, bright center. A large cluster of stars, so bright and can barely make out individual stars. This seems to have a certain relationship to the crystal bowl and my connection to the positivity of the universe.
All that said, I believe meditation is a powerful and interesting tool. It’s one that I use on a frequent basis – although not as often as I should. It’s a vey organic and personal process, and it’s different for everyone. However, if you have yet to try meditation, I recommend you find a place that makes you most comfortable and give it a try. Over time, you may find that it gives you a certain amount of comfort and control over your life.
And it’s a spiritual experience. One that many find uncomfortable. It’s deeply rooted in our own beliefs and philosophies (something I might go further on in a later post), and can lead to interesting and frightening revelations about ourselves. However, my personal experience is that the benefits are worth the discomfort.
As for me, I’m going to go remove my makeup and mediate quickly before bed. Goodnight, and safe travels, dear reader.