Silence is golden. (It’s also a powerful weapon, as any forlorn boyfriend will tell you), but how often do we actually appreciate silence? In a world that’s cluttered with noise and activity, it’s difficult to recognize silence when it does come, if it comes. My quest for peace came late in life. I just got tired of the noise, all of it, and I needed to quiet my mind, so I turned to meditation, a practice growing in popularity.
I did my research. I got a book from the library (Meditation for Dummies) and a tape narrated by a popular therapist who would ‘talk you through’ the mediation practice. I even attended an evening mediation workshop hosted in a local Shambhala Centre (it was free)
I waited for a day when I knew I’d be alone at home, popped the tape into my player, sat on the floor in the lotus position and prepared to quiet my mind. The tape began with soft, spa-like music; running water, bird sounds, not unlike those I’d imagine in a rain forest, then a voice instructing the listener to take their conscious thought to their perceived place of serenity. I immediately envisioned a secluded beach at sunset; gentle waves lapping at the shore. I note a dull ache in my hips,,, this lotus position hurts (I didn’t think mediation was supposed to hurt?) Focus. The book said to ignore physical distractions.
The voice urges me to release all feeling in my limbs…..more gentle waves. Surrender all thought to the wind (Jesus, my hips are killing me) I squirm a little to release my legs from the pretzel-like hold of the lotus. (ok, better, relax) I force my thoughts back to the water…. swish, swish, swish. (was that the dryer buzzing? Rats, those are darks and they’ll wrinkle if I don’t fold them now….) No, stop, re-focus. Nothing matters, just this moment and the silence. (Are those crows screaming out there? I should’ve shut the window) Relax. (mother of God, how many are there? Was there a major kill or something?) Ignore it. Clear your mind – you hear nothing, just the water…….(Jeez, I hope they don’t crap all over my porch,,,it sounds like a hundred of them…)
The voice continues….’feel yourself drifting, floating weightlessly through the air.’ The doorbell rings. I ignore it….this is too important to my well-being. It rings again. (wait, it could be a parcel delivery…maybe someone sent me a gift….if I don’t get it, I’ll have to go to the local post office later,,,,,better to just answer it now) I shake out my numb legs and wobble to the front door anxious for my anticipated surprise. It’s not a parcel. I groan as I recognize the now familiar pair of Jehovah’s Witness recruiters who’ve come for their weekly attempt to convert me. After assuring them I already have a direct line to God, so no need to read from the bible thanks, they reluctantly leave.
I rush back to the family room, plop back into position and resume my visit with serenity noting I’ve already lost 20 minutes. My husband will be home soon…. (I’d better relax pronto) The phone rings. (Ignore it) Waves lapping onto the shore, ring, ring,,,,(what if it’s important),,,,ring, ring Cursing, I again unfold my numbing legs and rush to answer the phone – good news! I’ve been selected to win a cruise just for participating in a brief survey, yay! I hang up and shuffle back into position. Ok, water, air, floating, blah, blah, hurry up and relax already. I’m annoyed. This meditation stuff isn’t relaxing at all and I’m not forcing my legs into anything anymore.
The soft voice on the tape is now dreamy and far off. ‘Surround yourself with a warm white light’ ……all you hear is the water, birds, peace….oh hell, and those bloody crows are back, really? (when did my yard become a gathering ground for the wild kingdom?) Oblivious to the tape, I stomp to the window and slam it shut, muttering under my breath. As I prepare to return to my zen state, the dryer buzzes a final warning that my load is done and for a moment I hesitate. (NO, you’re gonna get back on the floor and you’re gonna relax!) I return to my seated position on the floor, close my eyes and focus on the soft voice just as it says, ‘ok, I want you to return to a state of consciousness now. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Open your eyes and feel the sense of contentment within yourself. Face the remainder of your day now with confidence and a renewed peace.’ Really?
As I fold my now wrinkled laundry, I glance out the window and note the crows have indeed crapped all over my deck. Lovely. But that’s ok, cause I’m at peace in my head now, right?