Staying Calm in a Sea of ChaosDecember 16, 2015
I don’t know how or when it happened. Having lived a life mostly in a state of high anxiety, I now find myself staying calm in a sea of chaos.
Actually, I do know how and when it happened. When I began meditating several years ago. Everything changed.
I used to be terrified of flying, being in elevators, riding on the subway, speed (the fast kind, not the drug kind), and on and on. How I lived in NYC for almost fifteen years, I’ll never know.
“Like” increases “like” according to Ayurveda, and the Vata-type individual is used to high energy and often seeks it out, rather than looking for ways to calm down. So living in that frenetic city was like a high I didn’t really need.
The holidays absolutely unhinged me. Along with fear and anxiety, the Vata individual is not very organized. So all of the hustle and bustle, shopping, entertaining, etc. made me want to retreat into a cave.
I learned more about the mind/body/spirit connection, and meditation allowed me to safely retreat into that cave twice a day.
The only expectation I had was that it might calm me down. I never expected it to rid me of most of my phobias and lead me to a place of calm that is downright delicious.
I crave my meditation time now. Missing it is like skipping a meal. And even though it’s easy to let it slide during busy days, I know that that’s when I need it the most and so I try my best to find a way into the cave for at least twenty minutes, twice a day.
I don’t sit on a meditation cushion or have a special little room. I either sit in my favorite worn leather chair or propped up with pillows on my bed. Even though my new apartment building is very quiet, I’ve continued my NYC habit of using earplugs AND noise-cancelling headphones, along with an eye mask. This is definitely not necessary and I have the ability now to close my eyes on the subway and meditate, but that extreme silence and darkness is a bonus.
This time of year, as we approach the Winter Solstice on December 22nd, is ripe with opportunity for deep meditation.
The veil between our world and the spirit world is thin at this time and you might be surprised who “shows up” in your meditation. Or not. I enter my meditation time every day without expectations. If I’m lucky, the record of thoughts playing over and over in my mind will cease for a blissful while. And that’s enough.
But on some special days, I’ll receive a message or guidance. I might see a flash of someone’s face or have a “knowing” about something. Often I’ll “hear” and “see” something that weeks down the road reveal their significance.
The beauty of meditation is that even when you think it’s doing nothing, it’s doing something.
Meditation is a vital state of consciousness – just like sleeping, waking, and dreaming. It helps rejuvenate the body and mind. It helps us sleep better. It clears us of old trauma. It is deeply calming to the central nervous system.
It’s nine days before Christmas and one day before my birthday. I’ve always avoided doing anything more than lunch with a dear friend on my birthday, because who wanted more activity during the holidays?
But this year, for some unknown reason, I kept getting a message to throw myself a party to celebrate the amazing year that I’ve had. I launched this new website, which in and of itself is enough to celebrate.
I don’t like parties! I’m not organized. I’m not ready. But I’m cool as a cucumber. Will wonders never cease?
And for this, I thank my meditation practice.