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Mental illness Myths


Out of My Mind

A failed attempt to describe meditation

Occasionally someone asks me what this meditation stuff is all about. Why do I do it? What is it like? So I thought I would attempt a written answer, but it is really impossible to answer the questions because the answers come from my mind and my mind has never meditated. My mind is just a bio-computer, a useful part of me, but NOT the part that experiences meditation. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t, but that’s just how it is.

I have cleared a space on the floor and set up my exercise mat with a pillow on one end and I’ve placed a candle on the floor a few inches past the other end. The hour-long meditation CD has begun to play and meditation beads have been placed around my neck. If our cat doesn’t bother me for the next hour, it will only be my own mind that will disturb me. Sitting cross-legged on the pillow I place my hands in a Yogic position, palms up and resting on knees, thumb covering the tips of the index fingers, also known as the ego finger and the one that accuses the other guy. I watch my breathing and attempt to silence the ever chattering mind. In breath. I watch it. Out breath. I watch it. I am aware of tightness in my stomach. In breath. I watch it and direct the breath deeper into the tightness that affects the stomach lining and wonder why my stomach has that feeling. Perhaps it was that tempeh burger I ate last night or the herbal dressing on the salad that my wife purchased from that delightful young woman at the farmer’s market in downtown DeLand. It was cold that night, but nothing to compare with what Gerry and Peter are experiencing up in Maine and Vermont, sub-zero temperatures and two or three feet of snow. I miss snow, but I don’t miss the sub-zero temperatures and…. DAMN IT!! Damn this chattering mind. Leave me alone! I adjust my position, roll my head from side to side to stretch out the tightness in my neck, that poor mechanism that has to support 20 pounds of gray matter each day. In breath. Watch it! Out breath. The stomach relaxes. In breath. Knees hurt just a bit. Out breath. In breath. Images float by. Out breath. In breath. Out breath. Memories in the form of pictures come and go. In breath. Out breath. The flickering candle flame viewed through closed eyes coupled with the feeling of air passing in and out and the gentle sounds of bells and gongs and a felt sense of a face before me, featureless, nothing sharply defined, and it glows in soft light. It speaks without words, calls me without sound, and communicates to the extremes of the deep breaths that are automatically happening within my body. At the end of the out breath, as stomach collapses inward I feel a tingling at the top of my head, a light, delicious feeling of a mind at peace, empty of thought and yet intelligent, learned, experienced, perhaps even wise. In breath, fill the lungs, push out the stomach and there it is, that familiar throbbing in the solar plexus, that delicious feeling of raw power, fearlessness, no fear, no anger, a good day to die. Out breath. A thought begins and is instantly recognized and discarded. In breath….silence….out breath….silence……in breath…….out breath. Body at rest, mind silenced. I am with God. God is with me. Love is with me. I am with love. No worries. No fear. All will be well again, all will be well. No conflict. Nothing to kill or die for. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people…… and I laugh to realize that the mind has snuck in through the back door singing a John Lennon tune. Oh well. It was a good attempt. The CD has finished. A full hour has passed and my mind was only in control for part of the time…..

Well, that’s as close to an answer as I can come. Everyone’s meditation is unique. Some see brilliant lights. Some claim to hear the voice of God. Some will not even talk about the experience, claiming that it is beyond the capacity of the mind to say anything about it. They are probably right. All words fall short.



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