A cynic experiences a life-changing event with meditation.
I am a cynic. In addition to being a freelance writer, I have been practicing law for nearly 25 years.
Being a lawyer can suck the life out of a person. You tend to see the liability in just about everything, and cynicism is a common trait of those who practice the profession. Additionally, I am a person constantly juggling numerous deadlines and responsibilities, but probably no more than the average attorney, writer, mom and multiple dog owner. While I usually get everything done, it is not always on time.
I need focus, and my editor knew that when she made this assignment: find a meditation class to attend and then write about your experience there.
As I entered the Worthington area meditation studio through a purple painted door, new age music played in the background. The room was dim, softly lit by numerous battery-powered candles. (Candles that have scents can irritate some.) A large, white, leather sectional sat against one wall, and I was given the prime seat where two sections of the sofa meet. The leader did not know I had an assignment to be there that day, so the experience that followed was authentic and powerful.
She led us through a series of breathing exercises, which I would normally have dismissed because I know how to breathe. But I learned that I apparently don't know how to breathe. The deep breaths we took were refreshing and mind-cleansing. With my eyes closed to increase my focus, I breathed in slowly and exhaled loudly, as instructed. Feeling my lungs take in such large breaths was surprising and exciting. The inhalations and exhalations were so deep there were moments when I felt light-headed.
My shoulders relaxed. I didn't think about the OSU football game I was missing on television. I concentrated on my breathing, the new age music in the background and the lack of pain I was feeling, especially in my arthritic knee. Admittedly, there were moments when my mind wandered to the televised college football binge I was to undertake with my son later that day, but not as often as I would have thought. I was all in. Meditation was a new experience for me and I was enjoying it.
Again, I breathed in. I exhaled. I felt myself relaxing even more. It was obvious the leader was well versed in the healing arts, and that expertise crumbled my inner wall of resistance. It was clear from the comments of others in attendance they had visited this magical place before.
By the end of the class I was sorry the experience was over. I was incredibly moved by the root chakra bowl the leader played to conclude the hour. The reverberation of the bowl as it was played directly in front of me was spine-tingling and pleasing in its resonance. It touched me deep to the core, a feeling I can easily see becoming addictive.
There is no question that I will return. When I am touched to the core as I was that day, I tear up. Not from sadness, but from the recognition that I experienced something magical, nurturing and yes, even life-changing.
The day after the class, when an incident arose that could have easily set me off, I chose another route. I closed my eyes and took a deep, healing breath that recalibrated my perspective. I honestly don't comprehend how a one-hour session imposed its will so strongly on me. I do, however, recognize there is healing in mindfulness and because of this meditation class, I am forever changed.