Sometimes life floats the perfect scenario to hold up a mirror and assess the changes which have accrued from the inner transformation which takes place through meditation. Such was the case when I took my kids to an outdoor movie recently. We had grabbed some take out to enjoy as we watch the film. My daughter, Layla, insisted on getting soup, which I advised was not a good choice in that circumstance. She dug in her heels and stated definitively that there was nothing else she liked, so I chose to let her make the call. Soup it was.
When we arrived I began setting up our camping chairs. Layla's chair was first, and I was working on getting my son's out of the bag when I heard a scream cut through the air. This was a scream full of pain and fear, not an "ack there's a bug on my leg!" scream. My eyes immediately went to the sound and were met with the sight of Layla covered in tomato soup, her face crumbled in sobs and her legs and arms jumping around trying to escape the pain she was wearing in the form of hot liquid covering her clothes.
My mind and body immediately went into action. My first thought was I needed to get her clothes off of her. I led her over to a place off to the side slightly. (Thinking she would need to be stripped down, I wanted to try to save her a little embarrassment if possible.) She had leggings on, so it was easy for me to pull her pants away from her skin to assess if she was developing blisters. (VERY) Fortunately, she was not. I realized that it would save me time and her undue embarrassment if instead of taking her clothes off I put my hand and arm away between her pants and skin, and I know enough about energetic healing to know that I could also take away a lot of her pain if I just kept my hands on her where she hurt. Someone came by with a cold bottle of water, and we poured that on her skin as well.
I kept my hands on her for some minutes. She stopped crying pretty quickly, and before long she was fine. She even asked if we could just go buy some clothes somewhere so we could stay and watch the movie, but I told her we both needed to get home and get cleaned up (you can imagine it didn't take long in this adventure before I was also wearing the soup).
There are many ways we could unpack this experience, not the least of which is the healing power which is available to all of us, including the often un-utilized healing and calming power of touch. However, the aspect which serves the larger point of this post is that of calmness. As I was reflecting later on about what had happened, I remembered the intensity of the situation. I remembered the sound of my child screaming incredibly loudly with that unmistakable ring of pain. I remembered those seconds which seemed like years between when I'd seen what had just happened and I didn't yet know how severe the burn was. And then I realized that I was able to meet that chaotic, emotional, intense scenario with calmness. I was able to stay centered and move quickly, wasting no time trying to assess and organize my thoughts to decide what to do next. I saw what happened and immediately acted, and those actions were effective.
In meditation, there are many aspects of superconsciousness which reveal themselves. In fact, according to yogic tradition, there are eight aspects of our higher Self which can manifest: joy, peace, love, light, sound, wisdom, power, and... calmness. In meditation, we are engaging with one or more of these eight manifestations of the divine. Early in our practice, we may primarily notice these aspects in meditation and right after we meditate, but the effect wears off as we become engaged with the external world. As we get more experience, we notice these aspects bleeding into our non-meditation time more and more. We feel more peaceful, for example, throughout the day. We find our inner peace becomes harder to shake even when the external world gets rocky.
When the habit of meditation develops, it is usually called a "meditation practice." I'd always related to this phrasing of meditation as a practice in the sense of something which is done regularly. It was through this experience with Layla and the hot soup in which I saw another layer to that phrasing. In meditation, we are practicing those higher responses such as calmness and joy in the same way a basketball player practices free throws. The basketball player shoots free throw after free throw after free throw in practice, so that in game time the body and mind are well-versed in how to connect with the basket at the free throw line. In the same way, we get in states of joy, calmness, or so on in our practice of meditation so that when we are engaging in that unpredictable game of life we default to those states instead of getting pulled in to fear, anger, sadness, or so on.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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