I lay here. 3 a.m. Sleepless. Hopeless. Nauseous. Anxious.
I don’t know what to think, where to let my mind wander, who to talk to, when to say “STOP!”, and how to let it all go.
But, 2 hours of sleep and 3 hours of meditation under my belt, I thought I’d give this whole thing a shot (despite my current feeling of confusion).
Being sick has taught me to let it go. To take a breath and breathe. To breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Inhaling innocently, quietly, God’s guidance, strength and love. Exhaling loudly, faithfully, the toxicity of my life. It hasn’t been until tonight that I have really been able to fully understand the benefit of meditation.
“Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.” – Swami Rama, Yoga International
Meditation has gained a lot of hubbub in the world today and the increased popularity with yoga. Meditation is an amazing way to clear the mind, to de-stress, to release and recover mentally. However, deepening my practice of meditation in the past few weeks, I have learned of its physical healing qualities, just as much as its mental healing qualities.
WARNING: The rest of this blog is filled with personal interpretation and opinion. I am not a professional, and I speak only out of personal experience, research, and thought.
I have been able to connect to a part of myself that I didn’t even know existed. An inner soul. My center of consciousness. A part of me that, when I found it, scared me and I instantly snapped out of it, only to realize what I’d just done, and that I was going to spend the next 20 minutes reaching a deep level of thought to find myself just as shocked as the first time I connected to my center of consciousness. I realized, just then, that I had attained a level of meditation that I never thought possible. That amidst all of the turbulence I have experienced in the past few years, I reached a point of self-growth that I never imagined. And to me, that was incredible (and still is today).
As Rama said, meditation is not a religion, rather a science. When I meditate, I focus my mind on my breath. I set my intention for that meditation to be focused on God and how He will change my life, how He will guide me and give me strength. I have learned that God doesn’t care how you connect to him. He just wants you to know that He is there for you 24/7/365/ to infinity and beyond. A really amazing thing that I’ve come to realize in my 3 and a half months of treatment for Lyme is that no matter how many times I yell at God and threaten to give up on Him, he is always there. He’ll never give up on me. To me, meditation is my way of connecting. I’ve learned that short prayer, or even long prayer, are mantras, my intention for the meditation. But sometimes my mantra is simply ‘heal’, ‘be okay’, or ‘listen’. Meditating can take 3 minutes, or 3 hours. Meditating can be used for so many purposes. Which is another reason why it’s not a religion, rather a science. For example, tonight I used meditation to try to sleep, to quiet my mind and body, to settle my heart and slow down my thoughts. Other times I use meditation to wake up, to inspire my thoughts for the day. Sometimes I even meditate in the car to stay focused on the road and to remain present in the moment. The list for meditating goes on.
Diana Robinson, a holistic occupational therapist, said, “Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.” I full-heartedly believe this; but I say that there is no reason at all you can’t mix the two. Like I said before, meditation is not a religion, it’s a medium that is used to connect. This being said, I am a Christian. I connect to God, I pray to God, and I listen to God.
Being sick, like I’ve said before, sucks. It leaves me sleepless when I’m exhausted. It leaves me helpless when I know that I’m strong. It leaves me at a loss for words when all I want to do is yell. People don’t understand. They simply don’t. They don’t understand that treatment is a process. That Chronic Lyme isn’t strep throat when you take some meds and you’re better in 10 days. You feel okay one day, and the next you don’t want to move, in fear that your body will give out on you when walking down the stairs. They don’t understand treatment is a trial-and-error process and can last for many, many years. Again, the struggles that Chronic Lyme disease brings to one’s life goes on and on, however, with meditation and the Grace of God, I have been practicing finding peace in life. Finding the beauty in every single person, finding love and light in their daily intentions. And trying to find peace and purpose in my own life. I’ve found that it’s not others that I get tired of dealing with, it’s more myself, my personal standards, my own goals and plans that I need to be more open with. It’s important for me to know that life isn’t, and will never be what we planned; that a Type A personality is hard to work with when you have a roller-coaster of a disease. I need to find peace within myself more than anything. This is called self-awareness, and I encourage everyone to be more self-aware. To be aware of what you say, what your facial expressions say, and what you body language says. If you don’t understand, don’t judge. Have peace. If you don’t like who someone is, don’t hate. Have peace. If you don’t care, don’t disregard. Just have peace.
Now. Take a minute. Soften your gaze or close your eyes. Observe your surroundings. Notice temperature, sounds, texture, and pressure. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Let your hands rest in your lap or on your knees. Quiet your legs and feet and toes. Take a breath. Mentally count. 4 counts in through the nose, hold 7 counts, release 8 counts out through the mouth. Breathe in from the belly, extending the belly, filling yourself with peace, love, grace, faith and gratitude. Hold that breath with the intention of letting toxicity go. Breathe out through the mouth, be loud, releasing hurt, pain, bitterness, sorrow, sadness, anger. Repeat this 3 or more times. Focus on your breath. Let your mind release thoughts of the stress or current happenings. Be present. What’s your intention? What’s your mantra?
Congratulations! If you’ve never done something like that, you just meditated!
A term that is used in the practice of yoga and meditation. A term that is ancient. A term that has many different interpretations. But is so powerful. Namasté. The word is used universally and is used as a mediation between connections, to express understanding and closure. I interpret namasté as a validation that we are all children of God; that we were all born from dust, and to dust we shall return; that despite physical differences, and differences in mental processes, we desire peace. In the practice of yoga, we use it to seal our practice and intention. To show gratitude for the practice and those whom we practiced with.
I pray we all find peace for the sake of our own sanity but for the welfare of our society and world today, too.
We were given a life. A life given to us by God. He gave each one of us a precious, beautiful, challenging, creative life. It’s a life given to us to be of use; to be a testament of His love; to be storytellers of Christ’s journey; to be spreaders of the good news that our sins are forgiven, that we are loved eternally, forever and ever no matter what; and to be reminders to others that with faith in the Lord, we will have all the strength we need. Despite the dirtiness, the scrapes, the bruises, the weight we are holding, we will all be made beautiful once again by the Grace of God.
“She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”
P.S. This took a lots of strength to share, and took a ton of thought to type. With the brain fog I’ve been experiencing, it’s really hard to process my thoughts, so if anything doesn’t make sense, please let me know! Don’t hesitate to comment or email me if something seems wacky. God bless!