Through this series of blogs, I explore the process I went through before leaving the legal profession as an attorney and jumping on a plane to Europe for an adventure that led me deep into my own subconscious.
As my outer world fell apart, I sought to understand my inner world. The straight path to success that I had been on no longer made sense. Questions bombarded me, yet not a single answer was satisfactory. There was a thirst deeper than I had ever felt before. None of my usual comforts quenched it.
Immediately after the destruction of my home from the flood, I moved into a coworker’s garage apartment. It was furnished and available immediately. The daily drive to work suddenly switched from five minutes to 30 minutes. I was further from town, making it harder to see friends. Most nights, I simply laid on the bed, too exhausted to do anything else. Everything felt overwhelming, and staring at the walls offered comfort.
I’d heard of meditation before, but I didn’t really know what it was, or how to do it. Yet, the very idea of meditation tugged at my heart. I thought it might help me access the deeper purpose of life, the “why are we here” question.
The very same week I put my request for help learning how to meditate “out there” into space, I received an email from an old friend. Years had passed since we had spoken. She had just completed a training program at the Chopra Institute in California to teach mediation. “Would I be interested in coming to a free talk at the library?” she asked.
The timing was no coincidence. Immediately, I responded with a big fat yes. Two weeks later, I sat on an uncomfortable wooden chair while Maggie told us all the benefits of concentrating our attention on the third eye, located between the eyebrows. “Thirty minutes of meditation,” she explained, “is equal to an hour of sleep.”
I could hardly contain my excitement when she announced the start of a four-week course. My hand raised before she finished asking who was interested in joining her. I was in. It was a huge relief to discover that meditation didn’t have to be painful or uncomfortable. I could do it anywhere, anytime. Magazines and posters usually displayed people sitting in complicated positions for hours on end. That did not appeal to me.
Each morning, I followed Maggie’s suggestion to get up, use the bathroom, and immediately begin. She called it the RPM method (Rise, Pee, Meditate). It worked. My life, up until the flood, had been jampacked. Work, deadlines, social engagements, the gym, committees, leadership positions, volunteer activities. Even when home, there was often music playing in the background. But when meditating, I was surrounded by total silence. It permeated me. The silence even began to become me.
I soaked it up like a sponge. When my thoughts arose, I simply acknowledged them and kept meditating. Even if they grew busier, it didn’t matter. I was so overjoyed with the ability to hear myself. To hear what was happening inside of me. To hear my own thoughts, separate from those of the world around me. That’s all they were: Thoughts! As each one revealed itself to me, patterns emerged. I could choose to follow them and gain insight into the workings of my own mind.
Each meditation, I began with the question, “Who am I?” It remained unanswered in my mind. Yet as it sank further into my chest, the silence helped me begin to feel the response. It was as if I busted through a door and suddenly saw an expansive vista. There was so much more to me than I had ever imagined. When I later read the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, it made complete sense when she said it is in the silence that she hears.
Sitting in stillness allowed me to access the depth of meaning and purpose I sought to comprehend. It was inside of me. Everything depended on my relationship to it. The flood knocked me over – literally – but I didn’t have to stay down. I could just change my world view.
Do you already have a meditation or stillness practice? How does it feel? What realizations have arisen in the spaciousness of silence? Feel free to post your comments below, and sign up for emails to receive the next blog in the series From Turmoil to Freedom: I Am Not my Body.
© Jessica Falcon 2020.