The Layer Cake Lotus and the Droplet of Light

Finding the magic of mindfulness

fiery-throated hummingbird d

Let me ask if you could save the world, would you? Not in some grandiose, Marvel comics kind of way. It wouldn’t come with glory and fame. If you did only one small thing each day, consistently and purposefully, that gradually day by day made the world better, would you do it? Would you save the world if it was just part of your routine?

I like to think we all would if we’re conscious of the option. More importantly, though, I think we all can.

Meditation. I cannot stress enough how powerful this self-care tool is — not only for you but for the entire world. I realize that sounds like a stretch, but I don’t think it is. It’s that whole “if a butterfly flaps its wings” kind of thing. Let me explain. I’ll start from the beginning.

I hesitated about writing this post. I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I wanted to talk about my experience with a recent meditation or two to give you a feel for what it can do for you. I was going to make it silly and fun in hopes of encouraging more meditation, but I’m feeling a little more serious about the topic for some reason.

I can’t say that meditation has saved my life, but I can say that it has saved my soul on more than one occasion. I’m going through a major shift of some sort in my life. I have been for a few years now. Is it an awakening, enlightenment, a mental breakdown? I can’t tell you to be honest, but I feel like I’m moving in a better direction, and that’s all I can hope for.

However, I can tell you that meditation, when I’ve incorporated it regularly into my life, has eased my worries, calmed my spirit, and yes, I mean it when I say it saved my soul.

I have experienced a few times in the last few years when I sank all the way to the bottom trying to find myself. Meditation lifted me back up. Now that I’ve added yoga, it’s even better and a stronger connection to all that is. For me, though, it began with meditation.

In the grand scheme, I think the two should be done together. The purpose of yoga is to prepare you for meditation. We leave that part out in the western world. We see yoga as exercise in and of itself and not related to anything else. In reality, it creates space for meditation and for Spirit, God, Light, Love — whatever you want to call it — to enter you and fill you.

It’s a beautiful thing, really. But what about saving the world?

Lesson 1: Mediate regularly. If you can, perform yoga to prepare for the mediation and see if it changes your experience.

OK. The idea for this post began after my meditation session yesterday. I finished it up and actually wrote down what I saw and felt during my mediation.

I should explain that when I become fully invested in meditation, my meditation changes. I see visions — images, almost like a mini-movie — while I meditate. Hopefully, they aren’t hallucinations.

If you’ve ever tried a guided meditation where someone walks you through the visuals of a golden light washing over you or something along those lines, it’s similar to that. Instead of having a guide, though, I let my mind wander and do its own thing. Afterward, I try to understand what the visual or feelings that may arise mean to me and, as I mentioned, I’ve started journaling about it.

Lesson 2: Consider journaling after a meditation to understand and cope with any thoughts or ideas that come to you while you meditate. It may reveal something to you.

I should also say, I have a tendency toward fantasy. So you may want to keep that in mind as you read the rest of this post.

Yesterday’s meditation started to open me up. It’s the first time in a while that I maintained one of these mini-movies in my head. They have sort of sputtered out in the last few weeks … if they started at all.

To be honest, I struggle sometimes with quieting my mind. It takes practice to move past that, and all I can tell you is you just have to keep working at it. Once you get there, though, your world will change, I promise you.

My mind races a bit when I first start my meditation practice. There are a few tricks that can help you. Chanting is useful, so if you are first starting out with meditation, I recommend chanting or using a guided meditation. It focuses you on something other than your thoughts. You can also focus on your breathing.

Headphones and new age music help me. Certain tones do something to my brain. I can’t explain it really, but a didgeridoo, Native American flute, Tibetan singing bowls, certain tones of a human voice, an Arabic drumbeat, these sounds enter my brain and push my thoughts out. That’s my go-to when I meditate.

Lesson 3: If you struggle to quiet your mind or push away your thoughts in the beginning, try a variety of mediation ‘tricks’ to help you find peace.

So, now to the world-changing meditation session. Yesterday’s meditation brought about a visual in my head. Sometimes the visuals are similar; other times not at all. Yesterday’s was similar to one I’ve had in the past — at least the setting of it.

I find myself in an open field, sitting in meditation. The colors of my meditation world are deeply saturated. It looks like an enchanted world from a film or a dream state. Everything has a glow about it.

To my left is a forest and, to my right, a mountain. The sun is in front of me about third-eye-level high in the sky. I can never tell if it’s a sunrise or sunset.

Small, lightly colored butterflies begin to fly around me. A few land in my hair. Others on my shoulder. A bird lands on my knee. It’s as if I’m a part of nature. I belong there.

From the crown of my head, a flower begins to blossom. It pops up in layers like a layer cake. Each tier slightly smaller than the last. It continues to grow throughout my meditation until it reached far into the sky. The petals were pinkish, fading to yellow toward the center. A light glows from within the middle of the flower. It is somewhere between a lotus and a passion flower, but the “tendrils” of the passion flower part grew very long.

Sparkles of light drift out from the layers and float around me like seeds. I would describe it as a new age Dr. Suess kind of flower.

Once it reaches a certain level, a white light spills down the length of the layer cake lotus. It envelops me like a droplet of light. The visual turns to simply white light and nothing else. I feel like I’m being lifted into a different atmosphere.

I felt at peace after that meditation. I felt like I was gaining power over my own life again. I felt connected to something higher. It changed me and wiped away what I had been feeling over the last few weeks. I wrote it down because I wanted to be able to go back to read it when I was feeling down.

I read it as I wrote this. I had the same feeling as when I experienced it.

So now that I’ve reached that level in my meditation practice again, I’m sucked in. For me, I have to reach that 30-minute mark. I start off smaller — 10 to 15 minutes a day and add on from there.

Once I hit this place, I want to do it every day for as long as I can. If I could do it for hours, I would, but that’s not a reality. I will most definitely make sure, however, that if I do nothing else as part of my schedule, I will meditate.

That’s what happens when you reach that level. It takes time. It takes practice. It is so worth it, though. There were times when I first started meditating years ago that I thought I would never get there, but I did. I stuck with it.

Lesson 4: Stick with meditation. Practice it like you would practice a musical instrument. The magic will happen.

I was going to leave the post at this point in the discussion until I had an even more powerful meditation today. I decided I would just copy it as I wrote in my journal. I’ll end the post with what I understood as the meaning.

Please keep in mind, though, that what I experience in meditation is not necessarily what you will experience in meditation. We’re snowflakes — each and every one of us. My experience will be unique to me and how I see the world. Your meditation experience will be unique to you.

What you see (or don’t see) and experience is your gift. It’s your happiness and joy, and it should never be compared to anyone else’s. That’s why for me, sometimes, guided meditations don’t work, but they can be helpful if you’re struggling to get started. Once you get there, though, I hope you can find your own magic within.

Lesson 5: Meditation is a personal thing. Your happy place, your peace of mind is as unique to you as your physical appearance. Look for what’s inside of you, not what others see.

From my journal:

Today’s meditation was beautiful, too. Perhaps more beautiful than yesterday’s.

It starts with the vision of a beautiful bird covered in shiny, colorful feathers. Think fiery-throated hummingbird. It’s deeply hued, saturated with vibrancy.

I climb onto the bird’s back and it begins to fly through a rainforest. I feel the rush of the wind against my face, while the rest of me is nestled down in the bird’s feathers.

At first, I mostly see the feathers of the bird. They’re so beautiful and the feeling of flying brings me great joy and excitement. I’m awestruck by the beauty below me.

We fly higher and higher. The bird is carrying large pieces of straw in its beak. I have no fear here, which is good because, in reality, I’m afraid of heights when I’m not strapped in. The scenery is beautiful. The rainforest is lush and green.

We pass over a giant waterfall, and the mist creates a dancing rainbow in the sunlight. I recall an enormous spider web and equally large spider. It is not frightening in the least. Rather it is part of nature, simply doing its part.

The bird and I finally reach our destination. It is a tree that’s flat on top. Branches span out and tips reach upward like a hand waiting to receive something. The bird lands, and we begin to build a nest.

The nest is in the shape of a water drop — similar to yesterday’s meditation. There is a small opening in the front of the droplet for me to enter. This is my home.

The bird leaves to get more straw. I stand in front of my new home and look out at the view. I see that my home is built on the tallest tree in the rainforest. I look down and birds are flying in and out of the trees below me. In the distance, the ocean is on the horizon and I see where it meets the shoreline. There’s an opening of a river that flows throughout the rainforest — appearing and disappearing through thickets of greenery.

I hear and feel the wind that moves the earth. I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live … or more magical. It is filled with life, and it is life.

I feel humbled and grateful, honored and privileged all at the same time. It is pure happiness and joy. It has nothing to do with money or status or things. It is all about the beauty, the joy, the connectedness to this place and the world as a whole.

Perhaps sometimes I get lost in the depths of the jungle. I need to see it from a different perspective. This meditation helped me see that and feel the wonder that this world has to offer.

Now, that’s how I started my day. That’s the mindset I’m in as I venture out into the world. I will greet the world with that same joy and wonder. I will greet everyone I meet that same way. I believe as one butterfly flapping my wings, I can change those around me.

Now imagine if we all did that — one by one. Millions of butterflies flapping their wings. Couldn’t we change the world?

Peace, y’all.

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