* Edited and reprinted with permission from the Boozy Gardener. Originally published April 2019.
2020 Update: In class, we almost always start and/or end class with a brief meditation. As a friend of mine once told me (paraphrasing someone else), prayer is asking for something; meditation is listening. While you may or may not be a spiritual person (my friend who gave me this advice is an atheist), there is value in stopping and simply listening to what arises--either from a God, yourself or the Universe.
BF and I recently took a FREE meditation class (thank you 577 Foundation) with a wonderful woman named Pam, who had studied under Sri Chimnoy. In the first class, she asked us each to visit our heart's garden, which proved to be a powerful experience for me. Under her guidance, I imagined a garden--complete with lilac bushes, a magnolia tree, fountain and hedge maze--inside of my heart. While this was nice, it wasn't exactly mind-blowing.
What totally transformed the experience for me came from no prompts at all. In my mind's eye, I was wandering my heart's garden when people I have known popped in and wandered around. Both of my grandmother's were there, including the one with whom I had always had a problematic relationship. Some ex-boyfriends. Pets. Even some people who are (thankfully) still on this side of glory.
The remarkable thing was that we were all just peaceful and happy. The ego and past hurts that separated us all were gone, and we coexisted in pure love and light. It was the closest I have ever felt to reaching Nirvana (the Buddhist concept of eternity--not the band).
Immediately after the class, I wrote down everything I remembered about the experience. I'll skip the parts with specific information about certain people (changing names to protect the innocent and all that), but here is the conclusion:
Even when I couldn't see the people and pets I loved, I could still feel them. They're all inside my heart, without drama or hurt feelings... I'm not sure what it was--maybe it was just my imagination--but it truly seemed like a doorway into the universe inside of me, where everything good and loving resides and where we're always together and at joyful peace.
Not bad for one free class, huh?
Most of you do not know me personally, and even those of you who do may be surprised to learn that I used to be a cynical, angry person who would have rolled my eyes at the thought of a heart's garden, but over the past several years, I have become more optimistic, peaceful and happy.
That's the purpose of this blog. I still struggle with peace and contentment. However, I feel as if I have learned (and continue to learn) lessons that have brought me closer to joy, and I am better able to cope in the face of life's suckage. It is my hope that my posts may give someone a nugget of wisdom that will help them. Since I learn the most from anecdotes (the micro--not the macro--level of philosophy), that is what I will share with you, dear reader (that, pictures of dogs and book recommendations--what else could you want?).
Have any of you ever experienced a powerful meditation or prayer session? If so, comment below.