Yesterday I went to the daily meditation available at the Spa. There were four of us plus the teacher. It was relaxing and of course better than no meditation, but very secular.We were relaxing, imagining ourselves on a beach..but why not go to the beach, then? It's right there- I can see it from where I am sitting.
Today I went again, determined to take advantage of daily meditations in the paradise like setting overlooking the beach. I would get something out of it even if it was not the style of mediation I prefer.
To my surprise it was a new teacher, a stocky white man with glasses and a four inch long white beard in the ancient Chinese style, that is, long and pointy. He greeted me warmly and invited me to lay out my mat which ever way I felt comfortable. While we waited for the others he began to chat with me. Since I was the first person there, I got to choose a lucky number. Guess what I chose? 7, of course. Common, I know but it is my birthday so it is truly lucky for me, I didn't choose it for gambling reasons. The teacher would read the seventh story in Moon by the Window later.
"Change starts within you. If you want the world to change you must change yourself, that is it. When you do that the world shifts and a slight change occurs. A change can be as simple as not watching tv. If you are a peaceful person, one who does not like violence, does not practice it, does not watch violent or disturbing movies than you can turn off your tv and a shift in the world has occurred" Each of us in interconnected in more than one way; physically perhaps, but spiritually as well. We are all one choosing to take this life journey together in our individual roles. We cannot change the external world without changing our internal world. When we change our internal world, that is, ourselves we shift our reality, shift our focus and instantly, the world changes because our world view changes. If I no longer subscribe to something, say violence, than I refuse to partake, refuse to watch it, practice it, than it is not a part of my world.
I found this man and his conversation interesting. Obviously I had found my non- secular meditation guy, although he was careful to claim that this session was of no particular faith, that all faiths were welcome here.It was spiritual none the less. He went even further in his examples of nonviolence. "If you are against violence than you should not take any part, don't practice it, don't watch it on TV, and this includes our animals, they are spiritual beings as well. Animal slaughter houses, they are violent. So if you say you are against violence, please think of the animals as well."
Wow, I was into this. It's like this guy was here for me. The universe felt my wish for a more spiritual meditation and gave me more than I could have hoped for. It was soon 7:30am and it was clear no one else was coming so we began the hour long session. Wow! A private mediation session overlooking the beach! The universe was looking out for me. The teacher had a gong like bowl which he rung and the session started with some breathing techniques to facilitate the meditation and then a bow, with hands in prayer position to give thanks for meditation and to recognize all the other mediators around the world, many of whom are meditating with us now, at this very moment, somewhere in the world.
After there was a reading, the message of which was this- as the sun shines through the clouds and breaks them free, this will come to you as well. Soon all the sunshine you have been seeking will come down on you all at once. All has been prepared and readied for you it is time to let your sunshine bring what it will.
We then meditated for a little before another reading of several quotes from who other than Lao Tzu and Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you know me well, truly well, then you know that Emerson is one of my favorite authors- a man well ahead of his time, maybe even ahead of ours. His words are enlightened and enlightening.
More meditation and more relevant quotes continued for the remainder of our session. There was a good one about seeking approval and how doing so takes our power away. I am only accountable to me and seeking approval from outside of myself gives power to another and they can hold that power over me. We should not seek to be the best in someone else's eyes, only our own.
At one point we put one hand on our stomach and one on our hearts. Doing so, you can feel your breath moving in and out and your heart beating. These are the two things that give us life in these bodies; the heart and the breath. The teacher instructed to "feel your heart beat. It is the power of your body." Perhaps this is the explanation to the 'echo chamber' at Angkor Wat. When we were there I found it curious, but powerful. What was this room for? It was a small room with a high ceiling and and two tall doorways on either side. When you stood against one of the two walls and thumped on your heart with your fist the echo was amazing. It was a drum beating and reverberating through space and time, deep and pounding like the beat of an ancient war drum. "It is an echo of your heart" the guide explained.
The chamber, like what we were doing now, was a reminder. A reminder that although we are currently in this body we are only an echo of something much larger. Yes, we have this life here on planet Earth, but we have more in the beyond we are bigger than we realize.
The teacher closed the session with another prayer of thanks for the gift of meditation in this world and a prayer for people to realize a shift only has to occur within them for a shift to occur within the world. "It's like John Lennon's song, imagine world where people realize we are one and begin living that way" and I remembered something he had said at the beginning of the session- If you feel love, sincere love and express your love or gratitude in that exact moment that you feel it, you have changed the world in that moment. Indeed, if everyone did this- imagine.