The Blue Particles of My Soul

Another meditation visual

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Don’t worry. I don’t intend to post every meditation visual I ever have. These are different for me, however. I feel like I’ve moved beyond some stumbling block I had always experienced in the past. As if I’m learning to move beyond myself. In other words, my physical self is not part of the visual as they have been in the past.

To be honest, these posts about my meditations are as much for me as anyone reading this. I don’t always have my journal with me. I can’t always look back at them when I’m not at home. When I’m feeling stressed, I want to revisit these meditations.

Therefore, I’m sharing them here so I have easy access to particular meditations that felt like they changed me in some way.  Maybe someone else, however, can gain something from these, as well. Or, at the very least, maybe it will encourage you to see what your mind’s eye shares with you during meditation.

Today’s meditation:

It begins with me as a nondescript blue silhouette standing in a space that is darker blue. It’s rather flat like construction paper cutouts. There are no depths or shadows or anything of that sort, but when I move, it’s animated, not like construction paper. There is a thin black line in front of me. As I move closer I see that it is a grid-like mesh wire. Tiny little openings.

I stand directly in front of it, my nose no more than an inch away, if that much. I begin to walk through the mesh. As my body (nose first) comes through the other side, it looks the same except now it is made of thousands, millions of tiny squares. The further I push through the squares start to take on different shades of blue – mostly between white, light blue and the medium, bright blue that I began as.

As my torso comes through the other side, the squares of my nose and face start to drift down.

Then I see a scene looking up to the sky. The colors heavily saturated, and the tops of the trees visible. The clouds are a brilliant white.

From that almost unrealistically blue sky, a flood of the tiny squares billow down in slow motion from the bottom of the sky — almost like spores from a mushroom or ink from a squid. They drift downwards, spinning and tossing in the wind. Now they are translucent but still with tints of blue. They sparkle in the sunlight.

I have a sense of falling, floating like a confetti without heaviness or weight. It’s exhilarating and joyful. The tiny pieces of me are dispersed by a gentle breeze, and I blow across the atmosphere.

A couple of squares land on a leaf. They sparkle and then absorb into the plant. I can feel the sunlight on the surface and the chemical reaction it causes within. I feel the life of the leaf.

Other pieces of me fall into a river down below, and again I am absorbed by the water and I feel the rush of the river flowing towards its destination, skimming over rocks and splashing against the edges of the riverbank.

Up above, a part of me lands on a cloud and drifts peacefully along. Other pieces blow beyond the single cloud to a brewing thunderstorm some miles away. The clouds are dark and gray, and I drop down into the dark center and become part of the storm. Lightning surrounds me. I can feel the thunder reverberate through me.

A strong wind catches a piece of me and forces me below the clouds, and I collide with a bolt of lightning. I feel the energy and the power of it. I am racing toward the earth with an energy strong enough to destroy. Other pieces of me fall into a raindrop, a gentle one. I feel myself falling to the ground and the splash upon landing.

Somewhere else, a part of me slips into a beam of sunlight, and I feel its life-giving power.

From a distance, I can see pieces of me floating through the environment like particles of dust or tiny seeds afloat on the wind. I can feel them spinning and sparkling in the sunlight. Although I am everywhere, I still feel the senses from some central location.

I fall onto the chests of people all around the world and absorb into their bodies. I feel the beat of thousands of hearts at the same time. It’s like a chorus of sorts.

I fall onto the throat of singer and feel the vibrations of the song she sings. I drop on the hands of a guitar player and feel the strum of the strings. I soak into the brain of an artist and feel the electricity and chaos of a creative mind on fire. I fall between the lips of two lovers as they join together in a kiss. The electricity of love surrounding me. While another part of me falls on the forehead of a child just as his mother kisses him where I land. Love unconditional.

Pieces of me begin to fall into the ocean. I feel the sun warm the water where I land and, then as I descend into the depths, the coolness washes over me. I drop into a current and am whisked to another part of the world. I land upon an anemone and feel the ocean’s water sway me back and forth. I feel the sounds of ocean songs as a whale passes by.

Meanwhile, back at the river from the beginning of the meditation. The particles of me began to gather and a blue ghost of me appears. I sit cross-legged in meditation next to the river. Translucent blue and sparkling, my skin resembling a Hindu Goddess. Gradually more and more particles return. From the center of my forehead, at the location of the third eye, a purple lotus sprouts. Equally as translucent and glowing with light.

More and more of the glittering particles drift back to me, landing on the petals of the purple lotus. They sink into the flower, each one adding a sparkle and filling my brain with sensations. I feel everything at once. All of the world is part of me, and I am part of the world.

As the light and sensations fill the lotus and enter my brain and body, a light travels down to my throat. I open my mouth and out comes a tapestry of light, colors, patterns, and flowers. It reminds of the birdsong illustrations of artist Ola Liola.

I close my mouth. The energy then builds within. I begin to glow in white light as the few remaining particles return to me. And that is where I stay until the meditation ends.

The Layer Cake Lotus and the Droplet of Light

Finding the magic of mindfulness

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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.

Waking the Dead

When self-care leads to spiritual awakening

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I died yesterday. My body still functions, but the soul of me passed away. At least what I thought was the soul of me.

I woke this morning, and my skin suit slipped right off the bone as I rose out of bed. When I began to walk, my skeleton crumbled to the ground. There I stood. Shiny and new.

I was sad at first, my skin suit lying crumpled on the bed and the dust of my foundation scattered across the floor. But then not. I heard the birds singing outside my window. It wasn’t a sign that it was going to be a good day. It wasn’t an omen of a bad day. It was simply birds singing, and it was beautiful.

I made my way to the bathroom as I usually do each morning. I looked in the mirror and saw the same physical creature staring back at me. Skin suit still intact. But I was different.

My ego was gone. The longing and yearning for things were gone. Feelings were clouds passing by. Nothing more. Anxiety and anguish released.

It sounds empty, I suppose. In some ways it is. Empty has its upside, though. It’s quiet and peaceful. All those thoughts that were always there before gone.

I became a vessel instead of stone. No longer solid and heavy. Open, rather, and light like a feather.

When I opened my plantation shutters before starting my morning routine, the early morning sunlight fell beautifully through the trees. It reminded me of waking up in Paris. No particular memory of anyone or anything, just the feeling of waking up in a foreign city for the first time in my life. Awe tinged with anticipation.

As I made my way through various yoga poses, a new kind of spirit filled my body. I lost myself in the movements. It wasn’t me swaying like a cobra. Something was moving through me. I felt it in my veins.

Afterward, meditation felt like floating.

It’s a strange sensation — so different from how I typically feel. But it is good.

If you’ve watched the Matrix when all the numbers drip down around Neo without touching him, it’s kind of like that. A lot like that actually.

It feels like being surrounded by water, yet you can still breath. Perhaps you breathe even better than before. There’s a softness in your movement. A slow, purposeful pace. The water buoys you rather than drowns you. Floating.

As you know if you’ve read this blog, the past year has been one of change for me. Well, the last couple of years actually. I experienced the loss of a long-time pet. Loss of a parent. Loss of a job and potentially my career altogether.

Perhaps that’s part of the shedding process, though. That’s how it begins — the awakening.

While parts of my life were sliding straight into hell at a pace faster than I could process, other parts were moving forward. I started taking care of myself. Although I must admit, it didn’t feel like upward movement at the time. It was more of a struggle to stay afloat. To not drown in the river of life.

Lesson 1: Our tribulations prepare us for spiritual growth and possibly awakening.

It’s weird, though. This yoga thing … and meditation thing. I was broken earlier this week. Bad interview experiences, some heartbreak or confusion that felt like heartbreak. Honestly, I can’t even describe this week. I went to bed last night empty in a bad way.

But, I got up and did my morning ritual. Yoga, meditation, cardio/strength training, smoothie and today I wrote. I wrote the first portion of this post, and then I came back this afternoon to finish up. I was curious if the feeling of lightness would continue.

It has. It’s weird … in a good way. Maybe some spiritual shit is starting to come together, you know? I’m calmer today. My anxiety is gone — or at least greatly reduced. I haven’t been angry all day.

One of the reasons I started focusing on self-care so much was because I had seen myself grow angrier and missing out on things I once enjoyed. I’m not 100 percent back to where I was when I was five, but day’s like today make me feel much closer than I was.

Lesson 2: If you find yourself angry a lot or easily ticked off, something’s off kilter. Try a little self-care to get back into alignment with who you are.

Sometimes I lose track of what this blog is about. Yes, it’s about self-care with an emphasis on yoga and meditation. It’s also about making the world a better place. Yoga and meditation are also about making the world a better place by making yourself the best version you can be.

That impacts those around you. We’ve all seen it. A good mood begets another good mood, and a bad mood begets a bad mood. Hate begets hate and love begets love.

It’s a beautiful day in my neighborhood today. Mr. Rogers would love it. I had a slower day of interviewing and applying. I was able to watch the bees boring holes in my banisters and stuffing their round little bodies in a hole. Birds eating seeds off my patio. The sun rise and set.

Lesson 3: Sometimes we have to break to move forward.

Sometimes you have to break to move forward. I feel like I moved forward today, although a part of me had to fall away. A less pleasant part had to die in order for a good part to re-awaken. That’s good, though. A hard experience perhaps, but good growth overall. And if we all strive for that, if we feel a little lighter, a little less angry, I think we will see a lot more love begetting love in this world. That is my goal.

Peace, y’all.