Now, though, as a grown woman, I would not laugh. I would meditate peacefully. I set the scene for enlightenment by dimming the lights, making a chair out of pillows on the floor, and lighting a lavender candle. I sat down clutching my amethyst crystal, closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and waited
Now, though, as a grown woman, I would not laugh. I would meditate peacefully. I set the scene for enlightenment by dimming the lights, making a chair out of pillows on the floor, and lighting a lavender candle. I sat down clutching my amethyst crystal, closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and waited for peace, but my brain had other plans.
Churros. Yum. Fried dough swathed in sugar. Whoever thought of those is a genius. I wish I had a churro right now. I would give anything for a churro. At a baseball game. Baseball games are so much fun. I should go to one soon. Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd… Meditate, Carla. I should put this amethyst near my heart, maybe. Will that help? Where’s my brain chakra? Is it weird that I carry a stone around with me like a Linus blanket? Charlie Brown was always depressed, right? But never annoying. Lucy. She was a boss. And a good role model for young girls, actually. And entrepreneurial with her advice stand. She’s actually a good therapist. Tough love. I give good advice. I think. Do I? I definitely don’t take my good advice. Man, I’ve made some bad decisions, and recently. Will I ever learn? Shit, meditate. I suck at this. Think of nothing. No things. Zero. Nada. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.
The harder I tried to think about nothing, the more freely nonsense bubbled up in my mind. After about five minutes, I desperately wanted to be doing anything else but sitting there with my eyes closed, so I got up, downed a glass of water, and came to grips with the fact that meditation wasn’t for me. Then, I got an email. From Oprah.
Oprah emails me regularly, and she’ll email you too if you sign up for her mailing lists. This particular email was about a 21-day Meditation Challenge that she and Deepak Chopra were offering. Like earth angels sent from the meditation gods, Oprah and Deepak were going to teach me how to meditate for free—EUREKA!
*Every day for three weeks, they led me through various soothing meditations. Oprah would introduce the subject and give a personal anecdote, and Deepak would delve deeper with his guru insight. He’d also provide a centering thought and mantra. Did you know that the word mantra is itself Sanskrit for “mind instrument?” I didn’t either, but man, is it ever. One of these was, “Om Varunam Namah,” which means, “my life is in harmony with the universe.” *Deepak encouraged me to repeat the mantra over and over in my mind while a calming musical track would start playing, sometimes with birds chirping and sometimes with ocean waves crashing in the background. I would close my eyes and repeat the mantra until Deepak instructed me to release it with a ding of a tiny gong. The structure suited me and I found myself eagerly looking forward to that 20-minute block of time before bed when I’d sit with O and Cho (What? We’re friends now) inviting peace and love into my mind and life.
Sure, sometimes I’d start thinking about churros, or worrying about the laundry I had to do, or the article I needed to write the next day, but having the mantra to come back to was a reminder that stressing over a “to do” list wasn’t going to do anything for me. When the three weeks ended, I felt lighter, more engaged with and unburdened by life. I’ve also never slept better. I got more emails reminding me that I could continue by buying a series of more meditations, but I didn’t. Until rent isn’t a worry, my path to enlightenment is free, thanks.
Regular meditation has helped me focus on achieving goals and living a full and vibrant life. It’s helped me calm my sometimes erratic and unhelpful thoughts. They still arise, and often, but I can more easily escort them out and usher less anxious thoughts in.
There’s a quote by Buddha that really struck me: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” In the end, it really is all in your head. That missing puzzle piece, it seems, was with me all along.
Carla Ciccone is a writer from Canada. When she’s not meditating she likes to overshare on Twitter.