To Quiet the Mind

By D. E. Boone

The Village Voice advertisement indicated the I could enhance my life with free a meditation workshop. Yeah right, I thought. Here we go again, with another urban fad appealing to people’s need to appear deep. I quickly turned the page and continued browsing. Then I remembered the success I had with yoga. Maybe this was something I should look into. Then again, maybe not. How far will I go with this? Next, I will find myself eating bean sprouts and chanting on the subway. But I was hooked in with the magic words – its free. So I called.

It was held in a small office. Only five people showed up. It was motley crew of all ages, shapes and backgrounds. They had a weird look about them, not what I expected. I wanted to leave immediately; their yuppie looks frightened me. Yet, I wondered what drove them here. They must have a lot of issues. Of course, I told myself that they had the issues – not me. I was perfectly stable and at peace with myself. I was just here out of curiosity. Well, I had to tell myself something. After much thought, I decided to stay. In doing so, I convinced myself that meditation was very esoteric, only for the specially initiated. This made me feel better.

The instructor was young and easy on the eyes. She said meditation is to quiet the mind. Boy, did I need to shut my mind up. She told us how meditation changed her life. She said, she used to be a big shot of some sort in the investment world, but quickly burned out because of the stress. Her eyes sparkled when she talked. Suddenly, without warning, they filled with tears. Again, I thought about leaving; she was too emotional for me. Why was she crying? Was there something in her eyes? Or was the meditation experience that moving?

As the droplets of water danced on her cheeks, in a quivering voice she managed to go on. She told us that meditation is a time-honored practice that revitalizes the mind, body and spirit. It’s an awareness of posture, an ease of breath and attentiveness of mind. Practiced daily, it can awaken our inner consciousness and cultivate our intuitive nature. I was impressed by her ability to talk and cry at the same time.

Despite this moving explanation, she was interrupted by an unkempt lady wearing a unflattering flowered hat. Covered in beads and trinkets, she looked like a throw back to the sixties. She said that she loved meditation, too. She said it calmed her spirit. She was a former Buddhist and believed in mantras.

“There were many different reasons why one meditates. However, from a scriptural point of view, meditation is to help us attain the fulfillment of the human incarnation, and the realization of our oneness with the infinite self,” she said.

This women irritated me. She had an air about herself that seemed way too deep for me. I thought of ways to shut her up. Maybe I should start crying, too. That would do it. How did this women gain control of the room? I was more comfortable with the weepy instructor. At least she spoke in earthly tones. But I couldn’t be rude. So, I bit my lower lip and stuck it out.

To my relief, the instructor regained her composure and continued her presentation. She told us that some of us nourish the hope that meditation will help make us a better person. But to others, it’s just a great way to ease our daily challenges.

“Given, our ever-demanding lifestyles, mastering mediation can be especially useful,” she said.

Prompted by soothing music, and the sweet perfume of lavender incense, it was time to begin. We were told to focus on the third eye; the little spot above our eyebrows and between our eyes. This was to evoke peace.

‘Don’t expect to go blank for twenty minutes. If your mind is quieted for just two minutes, you will feel the bliss,” she said.

I tried to calm myself, to stop all thoughts. But instead, I found myself listening to the music. Then I thought about what I will have for dinner. Chicken, rice and broccoli, seemed like a good idea. No, maybe I will have take out. I didn’t feel like cooking. Wow, I thought. Where those real tears or just a dramatic rendering? Why am I here again? Oh yeah, to quiet the mind. Well it wasn’t working; my mind seemed to race more than ever.

Unable to achieve inner peace, I decided to open my eyes and see how the others were doing. To my surprise, I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t in a comatose state. The instructor, with her eyes closed, and mouth wide opened, looked very peaceful. In fact, she almost looked dead.

Not wanting to be left out, I had to try harder. I decided to use the universal mantra – ohm. I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. After a few more carefully calculated breaths, I felt my body relax. Focused, my mind was silenced by the whisper. Slowly, the journey inward began.

I lost consciousness of my body. It felt light as cotton. Like mist over a hot lake, my mind took a rest somewhere in the vicinity of bliss. At some point, I felt the magic; the effortless flow of awareness from my mind to the object of meditation (the third eye). The result was a feeling of peace, relaxation and euphoria.

Oh my God, I am starting to sound like that lady with hat from the sixties. But now I understand her. One must truly experience it to appreciate it. Needless to say, I am hooked. I meditate every day. Why else would I write this article?

What have I learned?

The search for inner peace and spiritual realization can take many different paths. Meditation is but one road. Considering, our super-charged, high-stressed, fast-paced, lifestyles; it’s a wonder more of us aren’t taking a respite, by seeking refuge through meditation.

Regardless of our intentions, once mastered, the experiences associated with meditation can be exciting, inspiring and deeply rewarding. It can actually change the course of our lives.
I guess I am now one of those people who thinks he is deep. At least I like to pretend that I am.

D. E. Boone on D.E. Boone
I live in New York City. Every time I think I have all the answers, someone changes the questions. I am working on a novel and a play. Of course, working a full time job, means there is never enough hours in a day. I am always growing, and trying to learn new things. Writing allows me to be heard. If I write something that touches you in any way, don’t hesitate to let me know.

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