Release and gather.
I went to a guided meditation ‘rest stop’ class yesterday evening. It was as lovely as I was expecting, with twinkly fairy lights and little tea lights strewn across the stage of the large warehouse-type building with vaulted ceiling. It was made intimate by the low lights and the calming Eastern music.
We started by meditating in the traditional sense, assuming the lotus position with straight back, upturned palms, considering your breathing carefully while focussing on good feelings while inhaling, and letting go of the bad ones on the exhale. The good feelings we were asked to focus on centred around four things. We thought of a time in the past when we felt an abundance of the feelings in question: Calmness, Confidence, Love and Gratitude.
After that we performed a kind of shaking meditation which I really enjoyed and found the most satisfying, probably because of its physicality. You stand with your feet level with the line of your hips. You imagine the ground you are on starts to shake. These tremours cause your legs first to shake, then your hips, your arms, your chest, your fingertips, your shoulders, your head. Your whole body is shaking in a crazy way and it really feels like letting go. Also you have your eyes closed during the shaking which makes you even less inhibited.
Next was a different exercise. We all lay on our backs and the leader repeated a positive affirmation three times, which we had to internalise as we spoke the words in our minds three times. The words were about choosing abundance over lack; choosing to believe all is well instead of worry. Other commands told us to focus on each and every part of our body separately in turn. And strange and wonderful things like the imperceptible channel of space between our bodies and the mat. We imagined the troubles weighing us down dissolving into the plane of skin that we rest on and into the mat, into the earth.
But my head was swimming and I could not find a focus or any meaning behind these or any other words. My back felt twisted and crippled during the meditation class. I could not give myself up to the words and get lost in them. I found myself painfully aware of every passing second, writhing around, unable to keep my eyes closed, choosing to be distracted by the rafters above me or the meditating individual to my right, who had surrendered entirely. I found myself screwing up my face and shedding a tear believing that I am beyond repair, and I cannot do any of this without the support of the person who matters – because I cease to believe any of it myself. Doubt is toxic.
It was my first time and I will go again. The aim of the class is complete calm in the core of your being, through a meditative journey of total and deep relaxation of body and mind. To be able to gain any benefit from it would be wonderful, and I think will take a few tries. Bringing a clear and happy mind to the session helps. The memory of the morbidly negative weekend that I have just endured will pass and only learnings will come from it.