FINDING THE PORTAL by MaryAlice Meli
Before I met Madhu B. Wangu, meditation was a dim memory from the late sixties and came with headbands, patchouli oil, aummmmmm and the kind of fragrant smoke that makes one crave cheese doodles.
I’ve practiced a kind of meditation all my life; I just didn’t know that’s what it was. I thought I was praying or concentrating or daydreaming. What I didn’t understand was how to intentionally meditate. “But what am I supposed to think about?” I questioned Madhu, a patient, clear and creative teacher. To meditate, she simplified it for me, is to breathe.
Just breathe and don’t think?
Too simple, surely; but not too easy.
Now I follow Madhu’s quiet instructions and, after several minutes of clearing my consciousness of tasks, problems or other thoughts, I am always astonished to feel an internal letting go. I can almost hear it, a silent snap, a giving way, not unlike that final moment before sleep takes over.
Meditating purposefully, that is, concentrating solely on breathing in and breathing out is such a simple pathway to creativity, it’s hard to accept, almost too good to be true.
The relaxation that comes from deeply inhaling and exhaling focuses me inward and minimizes the distractions that block passage to my inner world. I never knew the range and extent of this world. I had a hard time trusting what I couldn’t see or hear but Madhu’s gentle voice leading the meditation opens a portal to that world. Now I imagine my inner place as a labyrinth where I can’t get lost. It doesn’t matter if I’m at my desk home alone or in a noisy, lunchtime Eat’n Park, this interior place is where I must go to write.
It’s difficult to describe the thrill I feel when meditation leads me to surprising dialogue or unexpected plot twists. Where did that come from I ask myself? What matters is not where the idea came from but how it bubbled up to consciousness from that murky deep. What matters is to breathe and be open to whatever rises.
Madhu calls it Writing Meditation Method but, once learned, this habit of breathing deeply, becoming aware and living in the present, may be used in other day-to-day experiences. I used it in a recent battle with insomnia as a way to eliminate my use of Ambien to get to sleep. It worked!
Hmmm. Would it work on weight loss? Stay tuned.