nirvana

imageAhhhhh, Saturday mornings. Ben takes C away for a weekly class and I get the morning to myself. Forty five minutes uninterrupted. Pure bliss. This morning, rather than attending to the dishes in the sink or the laundry waiting to be put away, I’m relaxing in an indulgent bubble bath. Pandora in the background, streaming indie hits that make me reminisce of days not so long gone.

Blogging has filled my spare time lately, and I’m really enjoying getting back in to it. Ideas fill my head, I grab my phone, start a quick draft, then come back and fill it out later. I have thirteen drafts started right now. THIRTEEN. It’s great, although I’m struggling a bit with deciding when to post them. Especially now that I have daily posts happening for my juice flush. Those don’t really fulfill my need to write, they fit the “status update” category a little better, so I still tinker with my more thoughtful pieces in the background, not really sure when to put them up. I’ve decided the solution is that some days, I’ll put up two posts. And some days one. And, I’m sure soon enough, some days none. I will try to stick to at least one a day for the immediate future, though.

I attended a meditation class earlier this week. I’ve never tried meditation before, and it was really interesting to take part in this type of class. Learning breathing exercises and “mindfulness”. Closing eyes and imagining your breath entering from the front of your body, leaving from the back, returning through the back and then leaving through the front. Then sitting with eyes open, softly focused, and just focusing on your breath. Counting at the end of each breath… in, out,1… in, out, 2… in, out, 3, and so on. Each time you notice yourself wander, you reflect on what your thoughts were, then gently bring yourself back to a count of one. If you actually make it to ten, you start back over at one again. It’s about training yourself to just sit and be in the present moment. Not focusing on the past or the future. Letting go of the bills that need to be paid, the cleaning that needs to be done, the traffic outside. Just enjoy being present with yourself.

During the exercises, I had an interesting observation. These headaches I’ve been dealing with, they mostly go away when I’m distracted. If don’t notice them, it’s as if they’re not there. If someone asks about them or I attempt to lie down, wham, there they are again. During meditation with my eyes open, I had no issue with headaches. They simply didn’t exist. But when I closed my eyes and removed visual stimuli, there they were. During the breath exercises, each time I imagined my breath touching my head, it was excruciating pain. To the point where I wasn’t sure I could continue the class.

I told the group leader about my experience, and she gave me a homework assignment. The next time I noticed a headache, avoid giving it a label of “terrible” or “excruciating” and just observe it. Let the pain be whatever it is and see how your body responds. That night, when I woke up at 1 AM with my head pounding, I tried the new exercise. I paid attention to the location of the headache, trying to give it shape and color and texture. And, amazingly, I was back to sleep with little more effort. Two weeks of not sleeping, and this magic trick puts me right out. I woke up a few more times that night, used the same technique, and again, fell back to sleep. I used the same trick last night, and my thoughts actually evolved to giving my headache it’s own little personality. Ok, so I think I was half dreaming there, but, really? Who cares. I was getting back to sleep without the use of drugs.

Weird? Maybe a little. Still, quite peaceful. I’ll trade weird for peaceful.

We discussed how our culture is such that we feel useless when we’re not doing something. Some task, some plan, some action. We don’t just sit and enjoy being with ourselves. Even now, with forty five minutes to myself, I decided those would be best spent soaking in a bath, while listening to music and blogging. I can’t even limit myself to one activity or stimuli, the bare minimum this morning was three. Add the aroma of my vanilla bubbles to the mix, and there’s yet another sense actively engaged.

So, did I reach enlightenment during meditation? Did I find Nirvana? You mean, I wasn’t there already? I don’t think I crossed over that threshold this time, but it was still very cool to see the steps one might take to find inner piece.

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2 Responses to “nirvana”


  1. 1 ingrid parmeter January 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    This is a really nice meditation on mindfulness. I have never done any particular training on techniques, but I have worked all my life on quiet prayer and reflection. I know that I need more of it in my life, but it is difficult to make happen. During Lent I do a better job of it—I wake up early and just sit in the dark in front of a candle or some incense. I try to empty my mind or let my mind drift. It is really good—-I feel refreshed and calm when I am done.
    The kids have changed me a bit too. I would say that before kids, or even when I had just the one or two, I would be more likely to try to do a million things at a time. Now I often sit and just observe the world. I turn things off. I stare at my chickens. I look out the window. I think of it as my “mama-monk” time. I’m feeding the quiet places in my brain that get overwhelmed and over worked. I need to do it more.


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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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