1. The Power of Meditation
A few weeks ago, I wrote and shared a poem here about some of my hapless attempts at mediation. I am not one who finds it easy to clear my mind and be still and silent but when I received Amma’s mantra and she became my guru, I made a commitment to myself to do it properly and meditate with my mantra daily. I have to admit, over the last few hectic and emotional days I have let this slip almost completely and it showed! I have been feeling a lot more stressed and out of sorts and not at all as connected with myself, my relationships, my creativity or the spiritual journey I have been on and the positivity that has been bringing me. So, it turned out to be fantastic timing that today was the day I was booked for a full day long course to learn the deeper ‘Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique’ given by Amma for those who have chosen her as their spiritual leader or guru.
Like everything else from Amma, this is given freely to anyone who wants to learn it. In the spirit I have come to know from anyone associated with Amma, it was given with love and grace and not the teaching but also some of the tastiest samosa I have experienced, posh biscuits and scrummy home made cake. We needed it too as it was a long day. I set off at 7.45 this morning and got home around twelve hours later.
I can’t share too much about the meditation itself as it can only be taught by someone who has been asked and trained to teach at Amma’s ashram. This is to keep the technique pure and prevent it being watered down by being passed from one to the next, further and further away from Amma as the source. So, I will tell you that it is a combination of yoga exercises, mediation, devotion and relaxation. I will also tell you that it is incredibly effective and easy to integrate into the day and I would strongly recommend taking a day out to learn it.
This is all still very new to me and it showed as I threw out my brand new and unused yoga mat, still curling up at the ends from being rolled in its packet. Around me were rows of mats looking much more used and worn on which sat people looking extremely comfortable in the crossed legged position that makes my thighs scream out in pain after a few minutes. Sitting on a cushion enabled me to cope a lot longer but I did have to fidget a lot more than my fellow course attendees and I had to resort to doing the final run though on a chair. I’m sure I will be able to resemble a cool, chilled out and supple yogi in time.
Just coming back into the presence of Amma through her devotees and through evoking the guru at the start of the session made me feel immediately centred again and back to the frame of mind I have been enjoying these past weeks since my day with her a month ago. This put me good place for the mediation teaching and, by the end of the day, I had finally managed to clear my mind of intrusive, wandering thoughts enough to be able to experience the visualisations and was just beginning to feel the associated vibrations of energy.
I came away feeling re-centred, re-balanced and re-focused on the spiritual and creative aspects of this journey. I also came away knowing how much I need to do these meditations each day at the moment. They are probably the best thing I can do for myself right not. As a direct result of the calm, peaceful and positive way they make me feel and behave, they are probably the best thing I can do for my family too.
2. Mind Framing
On that fateful ‘tantrums, tears and brandy night’ that began the creative and spiritual journey at the centre of this blog, I made the decision to surround myself with positivity and avoid any negative entertainment or elements in my life. I have found this to be incredibly effective in keeping my mind positive about William’s re-transplant and the potential outcomes. That buffer of wholesome, positive thinking frames everything we’re going through and thinking favourably becomes a habit, the norm rather than something I have to convince myself about.
Our amazing week away was a fantastic break from even thinking about what we are going through at all. I almost forgot the phone may ring a lot of the time, at least until the last night when William had a really awful night with his stoma output and seemed quite unwell. Since coming home straight into William’s transplant anniversary, followed by the chickenpox scare, I have allowed my mind to become consumed by anxiety and panic again. Of course, I gave thanks for the six years of life we have had with William at his anniversary. But I also found myself remembering some of the down drops in the post transplant recovery roller coaster and let myself dwell on them too much. I was already in that kind of mind when I was called to say the child in William’s class had spots and a history of repeat chickenpox. I immediately convinced myself it was the pox, despite also hearing the child was susceptible to heat rashes too. I hadn’t seen the rash but KNEW it was chickenpox and KNEW it was going to lead to stress.
Now I am back in my calm and positive mindset after a day of mediation, it is easy for me to see how it is just so true that framing our thinking impacts our interpretation of the world and our feelings and behaviour. If you evoke positivity, seek it out, surround yourself in it you feel it. If you let yourself think the worst will happen, you feel stress and panic. There will be tough days.
We talked a lot today about grace and how to invite and evoke it. The masters or gurus live a life that is pure grace and bliss. I am a long, long way off that so there will be tough days and days when I let the negativity and fears take over. But I don’t enjoy the way I feel and act on these days, and neither does anyone around me, so I need to work harder to learn what gets me back into the positive framing, make sure my rescue kit has all the resources I need in it and make sure I use it when I need it the most. It has been a tough few days but I survived, we all did, and we’re through to the other side now. There will be tougher days to come so it’s important to learn how to make sure these hard times don’t lead me on that slippery slope away from all the good things I have been working towards.
3. If only...
Something else that has really slipped away during this week is my daily journaling with the wonderful Lisa and her ‘Write Your Freakin’ Heart Out’ month. I will be catching up with Lisa and the other ladies this week for sure. I looked at today’s session and one of the journal prompts is writing all our ‘if onlys’ and then tearing them up or burning them. I will be writing about mine in my journal but this concept seemed perfect for another of those list poems I like so much. I thought it would be interesting to take some of the lines I wrote from the ’15 Days of Christmas’ song and reframe them.
If only I could wake up to a world of bright new mornings
If only I had the breath to sing my song
If only I could have reached an end to all my pain
If only I had a life to share with those I love
If only I could hear just one more of Daddy’s funny stories
If only I didn’t have to run out of precious happy memories
If only I could be laughing with my friends on the roller coaster
If only I had the energy to play with my Christmas presents
If only I could see Mummy’s smiling face again.
If only there was more time
If only there was still hope
If only you had said yes when they asked if you
would consider giving me the greatest gift anyone could ever give
If only you had said yes to organ donation