By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
Not that I understand how to meditate properly but I’m pretty sure I picked the worst possible guided meditation from an app I loaded on my phone. It was about “being here” and started with birds and water-sounds. The first part was delightful. Soothing. That’s what I’m talking about.
I was shocked from my bliss when out of nowhere a man’s voice began intruding on my relaxation every few seconds, telling me, “Bring your attention to this place which is already here. As you bring yourself only to the sense of presence, ignore the pecking of outside things.”
What outside things? His instructions were my only pecking outside things. He said, “Don’t worry about anything like phone calls, interfering thoughts, or images because you are like a screen and those things are only projections on you. Just as a screen with a fire image isn’t really on fire or a screen showing waterfalls isn’t really wet, all those extraneous things are simply projections. Not interrupting your meditation.”
Have mercy! He was my interruption. “Please hush up, Mister Disturbance Man.”
He finally stopped his chatter for a few minutes and I congratulated myself on how well I had prepared my meditation posture by relaxing on my leather sofa, feet propped on the coffee table. A lovely fire crackled on the opposite side of the table. I felt warm and restful. For a mere few moments.
That’s when my hot flash started. I sat with eyes shut trying to concentrate on not concentrating but all I felt was the roaring fire inside my reclined body, cooking away this time with real sound effects from the fireplace. On top of the flash, I heard the heat come on in the rest of the house. The last thing needed was more heat.
Trying to breathe steadily and focus on the irritating man who had started back talking was no help. My roasting insides, sweaty upper lip, and dampening hair on my neck took all my thoughts away from his words. Next, an itch on the side of my eye became as a gnat landing and taking off my cheek. Landing. Then off. Unable to stand it any longer, I reached up and tried to wipe away the intruding irritation.
Cooling down in three or four minutes, I focused on the tightness of my fuzzy slippers, like my feet must be swollen. My thoughts reeled around salt. The salt I kept adding to tonight’s bland noodle concoction I’d not enjoyed eating an hour before. My rings felt tight too. All I have to do is look at salt and I swell.
“You are here. Don’t think about what you need to accomplish later today. Don’t think of anything except being here. You can move around within your body and that’s okay,” the man’s voice brought me back to my task. This meditation effort truly was a task and I had at least ten more of the eighteen minutes to listen to a man talk about things I couldn’t comprehend. What the heck did he mean by moving around within your own body?
My whole body wanted to move. I had restless leg syndrome all over my body and I was itching to stop the agony and move. Peeking one eye at my phone where I loaded the meditation app, I saw the number 1:10. Oh Lord. Only a minute more. Oh Lord, a whole minute more. Could I make it? Surely I could. I was in labor for fourteen hours and pushed for two of those hours.
The man stopped his infernal chatter and I heard the blessed sounds of birds and water once again. Thank you mister for your silence. At last I can unwind from his anxious twitch-inducing verbal meditation experience. Aaah. Hopefully the water and birds would last a long while.
Nope. Wait. Where’d they go? Give me back my water and birds!
One quick glance at my phone and I saw that the next meditation which started automatically was “Heart Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls.” Ooh do I hear water, crickets and singing bowls? That sounds like a winner. Better get my swollen feet up higher and close those eyes. Relaxation here I come.