Saturday, February 28, 2009
A Quirky Meditation Garden
There are many forms of meditation, prayer being one of the best. Yoga is a deep gentle physical form of mind, body and spirit meditation and heals the body while soothing the spirit. I’ve tried them all and while each one is helpful in its own way, my personal favorite, after prayer, is visiting my meditation garden. This magical garden is a place where the conscious mind is free to interact with the subconscious mind within its surroundings and receive feedback from both areas of the brain. It’s a form of self-hypnosis and is easy and enjoyable to do—certainly more so than sitting in a cross-legged position chanting ‘ohhmmmm’ for a period of time. I enter my garden the same way I enter into self-hypnosis, starting with deep breathing and relaxation. I like to do it right before a nap or bedtime, often falling asleep in the middle of it. I walk down a long imaginary staircase—or if I am in pain I use an escalator for at least four flights down. That would be my conscious mind reminding me that with fibromyalgia and herniated discs, I can’t walk that far, or do steps. When I feel I’ve reached my destination, I stop at that landing which is a foyer of sorts with large sliding glass doors leading out to a beautiful countryside. My garden is an Eden-like area of grass, flowers, trees and a small stream. The sky is azure with puffy white clouds and a gentle breeze wafts about, the temperature just right. It’s quiet as I walk over to a large oak tree, sit down and lean against its smooth bark. Slowly animals appear and the air rings out with birdsong. A white snow owl perches on a branch above me. She’s lovely, but quite sarcastic. She has no patience for my complaints or excuses and accuses me of knowing the answer to my problems but refusing to act on them. She seems to be a part of me-my subconcious, perhaps. A large blue-gray Alpha wolf comes up and nuzzles me, his deep blue eyes full of compassion, assuring me that I am loved. His mate, shy and cautious, stands behind him. The wolf offers me courage. Then a roly-poly black bear cub tumbles out and plops on top of me, insisting on having some fun and cuddling. There is a sweet doe next to me who does not judge me but offers unconditional love. Rabbits, raccoons and a red fox often join the group, but usually only the owl, wolf and doe speak to me. One day, at a particularly trying time in my life, a new bird appeared—the whippoorwill of my memoir. Upon its arrival, all the animals became silent and many backed away as if aware of something supernatural in their midst. The whippoorwill spoke as it sings—in 3 sylable sounds. “All is well, all is well.” It gave me great comfort as I felt it was heaven sent from my lost daughter, Noelle, who loved and drew birds. The whippoorwill had played a part in her life, her death and beyond, appearing at strange times during our grief. I knew it was offering answers to the many worries I brought to my garden. When my time in the garden ends, I can leave and return to full consciousness, rested in body, mind and spirit. On another day, while arguing as usual with the snow owl, as the bear cub tried to get me to wrestle, a new arrival came waddling across the grass toward me. Somehow I sensed the white duck with the smirk across its face was going to say something not quite profound. As it neared, I called out, “Don’t you dare say it!” It ignored me and quacked a loud “Aflac!” The other animals seem to wonder why I was laughing. Humor is a great healer. The duck smugly settled among the rest of my animal friends. If ducks can smile, this one did. Now who says meditation can’t be fun?