By Debbie Lynn
With a bit of ambivalence, I lay my mat down, adjusted my blanket, and waited for instruction.
I am thinking, “this is not my first rodeo,” but so some reason I felt unsure about being in this group thing. I like to meditate alone, but I glanced around the room made subtle eye contact with a few, and the return was a pleasant smile or nod. With that I smiled, internally shrugged my shoulders and observed.
We were all there to take part in what I call Crystal Majick—a guided mediation with crystal singing bowls in the background. It is quite an experience and I love it, but in that moment, before we began, I just wanted to be done, and I really wanted to have a beer.
I pondered the mix of people gathered together; it seems to be the same wherever I go (a universal blend of souls) and I can find myself in each one of them.
The young, svelte, pseudo-hippie that is sporting the man bun.
The uber-athletic, slightly buff, musky 30 somethings.
The adorable gray-haired woman that is (for sure) somebody’s grandmother in Birkenstocks.
The Wo-Wo… and me. I fit right in there somewhere—everywhere—with so many similar attributes. But this night, I am feeling like an outsider.
The class came to a hush as the leader welcomed us, asked us to get comfortable, and gave instructions on how to find a “comfort zone.” Most of the class reclines, but I chose to sit, (for me) sitting is easier (when I lay on my back I tend to float instead of staying grounded). I sit half lotus, adjust, readjust, and the room softens. The voice of instruction begins to gently walk us through meditation.
The sounds of the mini-city are abundant. Cars, muffled voices, and airplanes above. A motorcycle goes by, the birds chirping and the frogs at the river’s edge made it complete. The river itself is loudly chiming in and the distant whistle of the 6.30 train is the now joining the backdrop. All those noises are so familiar, and then the hum of the bowls start to interject. The bowls join the chorus of a city that is already in mid-song and it changes the familiar to something new.
There is a delicate and haunting interplay between contrived sounds, live sounds, distant sounds and the way my mind perceives all of it. Yet, the bowls vibrating overtake what my monkey mind is trying to grasp. Everything becomes one; the song continues, I settle in.
The instructive voice is now preparing us for a little journey. She invites us to hold an intention and (perhaps) dedicate our practice (this night) to gratitude—just a suggestion—and she talks softly about where “gratitude” can take us.
She moves us into relaxations…head first, mouth, eyes, ears, jaw, shoulders and I am drawn to the word “peace.”
Peace, peace, peace is chanting in my mind and my body is going deeply into trance-union with the word. She spoke of stars, placing them around certain points of the body. I was tingling. My stars were vividly alive, popping and crackling and shining intensely—quite contrary to “peace” as they danced inside me like a child with a 4th of July sparkler. I smiled inside my pranayama, then realized I have veered off course.
I get back to the word peace.
Yoga Nidra is among the deepest possible states of relaxation and pairing it with an intention backed by healing sounds of the bowls (to me) is spiritual alchemy. And as I returned into my body, I am overwhelmed with the tingling, the sparkling, and the sensations that are grounding me to the earth even as I felt like I was flying. I soon found, whatever I was resisting…was gone and there is a different query.
The word peace came back to me as the vibrations were perfectly intense. The sound of barking dog melds to the tonality of the bowls as if it was planned. I go to what peace means, peace needs, and what peace wants. I felt contradiction pushing against what is real-and-true and I think: the world is so whacked these days. If “peace” was trying to tell me something (in this particular meditation) I had to tune in. It was saying, “It cannot happen universally until more of us (ME in particular) come to terms with our own inner peace.”
And as much as everyone (ME) truly desires it, “world peace” will remain untouchable, something to dream about, and that dream is a big undertaking.
Then I realized the origin of my first apprehension. My own ego and insecurities disturbing my peace, in my own being. Clarity comes to the forefront.
As I tapped into the disruption, and my unease of being a part of this beautiful experience, I uncovered the recent school shootings again gutted my very soul. I guess I buried that but here I am, on a mat, safe and sound while so many people (our children included) are so desperate for the safety of inner peace. The problem is they don’t know how to get there; everything is twisted and tainted. From the food we eat, the things that we deem important (which are truly trite and materialistic), to the lack of human and natural connections, all this is producing depressed, angry disjointed people. Big sigh.
I chant, peace, peace, peace.
But I know in my core, the ripple effect is more than meme. It is an energy that we all participate in consciously and subconsciously and if we can witness our intentions as we interact with the world, peace can unfold in a unique and beautiful way. This by no means is a by-pass for the toxicity and unrest, but it certainly is a start to a collective healing of a planet in need of inner and world peace by being an example of just that.
This will be different to each and every one of us, but I do know a few moments spent in intentional well-being (meditation) can be life changing, lifesaving and can be a gateway for more of everything good.
Will I change the world? Yes? No? Maybe? I often talk about starting local and going global, and my resistance to the “group thing” was an eye-opener. I saw the ego in true form, afraid to recognize and release a very saddened heart (and there were other reasons as well), but the bottom line still stands: locating and embracing our own inner peace is key.
Somehow, some way, we all need to connect to that place in our heart that holds compassion not only for a bleeding world, but for who we truly are inside-out which is: simply peace.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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