Meditation practice


I’m meditating again with Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Their latest twenty-one day series started on August 11 and goes to the end of August. As they say:  Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experienceâ„¢ makes meditation easy, fun, and inspiring, offering daily guided audio meditations via an online, interactive program. Enjoy easy access to the daily program anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Join our global community on each 21-Day Meditation Experience. Together, we will create lives filled with increased peace, joy, and wellbeing.

I usually meditate before going to bed. It relaxes me and better prepares me for sleep. My husband chooses to meditate in the morning right after he wakes up. But when is not the operative word. What’s important is making the time to do it.

That’s what I really like about these Oprah and Deepak 21-day meditation experiences. They get me back into it. Without their prodding, I don’t meditate regularly.

about-deepakAfter our son died in 1999 I meditated at the Shambhala Center in Los Angeles many times. But then it was very hard for me to relax into it. The following poem included in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, is about that experience. I think I’ve become much more comfortable meditating and much more forgiving. Like Deepak says, if I find my mind wandering or distracted, I just return to the mantra and keep going. That’s really all there is to it.



Meditation Practice

I face the shrine,
place my palms together as in prayer,
bow, and walk into the room.
I choose a spot in the second row
and sit in the middle of a brilliant red cushion,
cross my legs, straighten my spine,
and take a quick look around
before I gaze ahead,
lowering my eyelids until
my eyes focus on the gold-leaf mandala
adorning the lacquered altar before me.
Soon the tang of incense sends
a trail of smoke, like a fine silk thread,
up toward the ceiling.
It disappears above my head.
I begin to settle down and listen to
my breath moving in and moving out.
It sounds like I’m in an echo chamber.
This is not my breath.
It’s the sound of something far away.
I keep listening. The echo gets louder and louder,
enveloping me, swaddling me in its raspy arms.
I’m lost in this warmth until I startle.
My head lurches forward,
my eyes pop open, my body arches.
I lose concentration and barely catch myself
from keeling over, disrupting the meditative mood
pervading this room.
I fold my legs again.
I straighten my spine again.
I fix my gaze again.
Yeah, I’m ready this time.
I can do this
if only my right ankle will stop
distracting me, aching, giving me fits.
I count my breaths,
I cleanse my mind.
I must let my ankle hurt, let my nose itch
I must watch my breath move in and out
I must push invading thoughts aside.
Okay, take it easy,
Stay calm.
How hard is that?
The leader, sitting slightly elevated in front,
strikes the copper gong once, twice,
and then produces several more short bursts of sound,
letting the prolonged vibrations permeate the air.

It’s time for walking meditation,
and am I ready for that.
I know I can do that.
My legs feel like a couple of stiff rails.
But wait a minute.
Is this supposed to be a walk in the park?
No way. Of course not.
If it were easy, everyone would do it.
I enter the circle of my fellow-meditators
and walk the perimeter of the room.
I tuck my left thumb into my left fist
and cover it with my right hand,
holding my spooned hands close to my belly.
I become aware of my feet
as I take slow step after slow step
around the room.
As I walk, my arches rise
my toes curl like a ballerina’s,
my feet are like wings made to propel me,
elevate me into a perfect pirouette. And,
I am there, walking, breathing, getting it,
one step, one in breath, one out breath at a time.

Speak Your Mind