Unlocking your spirit
Have you ever thought to yourself, there has to be more than meets the eye? Well if you have, the story below is an account of unlocking your spirit.
It is a Sunday evening, I’m logged in on Facebook searching for comments that need to be replied to, chats that have gone unanswered and the like. And suddenly I notice, I have an event invitation, it reads:
Making Meditation a Priority in the New Year – An interactive talk by Shyam Ahuja
With curiosity piqued, I click on the invite and discover a local meditation community in my area. I think to myself, wow this is great; usually the invites I receive on social media are across the ocean and happening in less than 12 hours. So I read some more and am I sold. I click the button, going.
The invitation was to attend a lecture about incorporating routine meditation practices into your life for the New Year. I am no stranger to meditation, but I am not a guru. I have meditated and have been successful at quieting my mind and unlocking truths that lie hidden and buried within my soul. But what I didn’t know was the journey I would embark on for five days leading up to the meditation lecture.
Monday, I go about my day thinking of this community I will be introduce to, and wonder how the evening will go. Will it be a lecture about enlightenment? Will the people at the lecture be mindful meditators themselves who have already mastered the very essence of transcending into higher consciousness? I wasn’t sure.
As the week progressed, and I continued to think about this lecture and the experience I would gain, I began to feel a bit anxious and almost intimidated. Not because I was anxious about walking into a community for the first time, or going alone, but because I was absolutely unclear about what I may get out the lecture. I feared the unknown. Now, if you know me personally, you could describe me as a confident person (most of the time) with characteristics of both an introverted and extroverted individual. What I later discovered was what I feared most was going inside myself and truly discovering my soul.
Friday morning has arrived. I go about my usual day, giddy with anticipation of the lecture to take place later on that evening. It’s almost as if the time went by slower that day. But time passed at its usual pace and before I knew it, it was 7:00 p.m., and I was at the meditation center. I walked in and was greeted by a kindred spirit assuring me to go downstairs for refreshments. Ok I think, I am a bit parched, and a cup of tea sounds wonderful. As I walk over to the table with refreshments, I am welcomed by a petite woman with a radiating smile, “Hello, you must be new?!” I can feel my heart sinking; really do I stand out that much?! I compose myself and rid my mind of anxiety riddled self-talk and I hold my hand out and introduce myself, “Hello, my name is Tara. I am new! I received an invitation from the SOS of Minnesota via Facebook”. The conversation continued, introductions were made and positive and welcoming energy was exchanged. I was then encouraged to grab a seat upstairs for the lecture that was going to begin in a few minutes.
As I sip my chai tea and mosey on upstairs, the people I pass only great me with smiles and bright eyes. I approach the lecture room, or the room that is used for meditations and was shocked! Pews, yes, church pews. I nervously look around and immediately think, “Shoot, should I have brought my tea up here? Is anyone else drinking in this room?” My quirky anxieties quickly dissipate as I look around the room I stand in and realize this building and its furnishings once belonged to a church. Granted I do not know the background of the former organization that used to be here, but I am awed that all of the pews have been repurposed.
So I find a spot, more towards the middle front rows and off to the side and get situated. I take my jacket off, quietly sip my chai tea and observe the others around me. Most of the people that attended this lecture are of East Asian decent (from what I can tell), so I feel a bit at home (I happen to be half East Asian), but every so often I catch faces of other ethnicities, of all ages and of both genders among me.
The lecture begins with the introduction to SOS of MN. I am impressed. A community that does not focus on your religious or spiritual beliefs and has no reason to change them. Instead, this community welcomes any and all who wish to become aware of their own higher consciousness. It is that simple. The message is clear; we human beings are actually spiritual beings living a human existence. Profound, huh?
Now keep in mind, I have mediated, I have practiced yoga for a while, and often times my family members call me a hippie, a flower child, or I have been labeled “earthy”. I have even been told I have an old soul and radiant a strong energy. I have always taken these comments as compliments and have embraced them. So in this respect, I feel I have a personality or energy about me that would naturally gravitate towards activities such as meditation, yoga, drinking tea, discussing the cosmos and a like. But what I didn’t know was the road I would travel that evening.
The lecture now transitions on to the guest speaker, who is here to discuss meditation in the New Year and making it a point to practice meditation routinely. His lecture is comprised of stories and analogies that make the audience reflect deeply on their own lives and he also does a wonderful job of inserting dashes of humor here and there.
The story that struck a chord with me goes as follows:
There was a young boy walking down the streets in his home town. He may have been going to school or going home, for this story it does not matter. He continues his journey and along the way he sees a shiny penny in the road. He picks the penny up and becomes excited, and fixated on finding more coins on his foot travels. The years pass and he is now in teenage years, he continues to find coins along his routine walks and adds them to the first penny collected. The years linger on and he has become a father, and he continues to walk the streets with his head down only focusing on coins he could find. Eventually, his daughter encourages her father to count all the money he has collected over the years. So he agrees and they count the coins. The total: a mere $15.61. In astonishment, his daughter asks her father, “For all the years you have walked with your head down, was it worth $15.61?”
The reason why that struck a chord with me is because presently, I am in a state of limbo in life, I guess we all are, but what I do doing the day versus what I do in the evening with my personal pursuits are very much incongruent with one another and create a dissonance in my life. With the man in the story walking with his head down, it made me realize that when I am stressed, I too do the same. When I am uncertain, I too hang my head down. It was almost as if that story were meant for me.
I won’t divulge all the details of the 2 hour lecture, but I will encourage you to look up a local meditation center.
The lecture ended with a guided meditation. A meditation that focused on seeing through your third eye and turning off all of your senses. The lecturer asked all of us to place a finger on our third eye, to become physically aware of where our divine sense lies within us. Then we were told that we needed to focus on shutting off the senses, sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
Now keep in mind, we had been sitting for over an hour and have been listening to a lecturer that had a velvety rich voice that projected a calm energy filling the room. We were already in a Zen like mode. We were all here to learn more about meditation and to actively meditate that evening.
So we close our eyes, and the room becomes quiet and still. We all begin our journey of unlocking our spirts and traveling inward…. And suddenly, as if only a minute had passed, the velvety rich voice quietly whispers into the microphone, I would ask that you begin wiggling your toes and become aware of your body….slowly open your eyes.
I am astonished, wanting only to continue the journey within. I am also filled with an unlimited amount of happiness and peace. For the first time in my life, I have meditated. This meditation was unlike any other I have experienced, and I wanted more of it.
The lecture comes to an end and everyone starts to trickle from the upstairs meditation room to gather downstairs for a meal. I instead, decided to leave for the evening. For about five minutes I sit in my vehicle soaking up my experience and the humble greetings I encountered and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am grateful for this center and the people that have organized this community, but I am grateful for being courageous to take time to go inside and become acclimated with my soul.
As I drive home, I do not turn on the radio, instead I drive much slower than usual, and am in no rush to make it home. In my vehicle it is quiet and a vessel for reflection.
I pull into the driveway at my home and am greeted by my smiling boyfriend and my dog wagging his tail in a manic manner. I feel content. I feel at peace. I have unlocked my spirit.
This is only the beginning, I am hungrier for experiences that will unlock my spirit and give glimpses of possibilities that I have not even conjured.. Unlocking your spirit is a self-directed pursuit, but it will come when you most need and are willing to receive it.
Some wonderful quotes about Meditation:
The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you. – David Lynch
“Meditation is like breaking out of a personal prison and finding paradise”.
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear”.
“If we knew how much bliss awaits us within, if we had even an inkling of it, we would drop all other pursuits and rush towards it.”