I read the second section of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” and again I could relate to the author’s monkey mind when meditating. I had that problem too for many years and I dreaded the meditation/visualization sections of spiritual workshops I attended. The room would go quiet, the students would close their eyes and a dreamy look would appear on their faces. My eyes wouldn’t stay closed and my mind chattered away almost to the point of insanity. Saint Teresa of Avila called this the “monkey mind” and she believed it could be tamed. I had my doubts. I had my judgments of myself and all the other students. That kept my mind occupied, but under duress.
So Gilbert travels to an ashram in India where she nearly experiences meltdowns during chant and meditation sessions. She experienced those strange and frightening kundulini moments too, when you come into your power and God sinks into you through the top of your head. Well, that’s one way of describing it. But anyone who has meditated seriously, practiced yoga, or had some deep energy work done on their bodies, knows about those kundulini snakes rising from the base of the spine and shooting out through the top of the head–unnerving, and yet, invigorating.
I’ve never been to India, but after returning to Dr. Zhi Gang Sha’s Soul Mind Body Medicine chants and meditations after several years, I’ve experienced huge spiritual transformation. It’s not something I can sit here and write about because these changes are subtle and internal. People notice the changes if they’re sensitive. I haven’t healed my health problems yet, but I’m working on it. I have tamed my mind though and I’m happy to say that I can meditate using Dr. Sha’s methods. I think it’s because his meditations have several components such as visualizing light, tapping on various points, and chanting. The mind is refocused so that the soul comes through. Dr. Sha says that the soul is boss, and with his meditations it is.
So later today, after I get some of my own writing completed, I’m returning to Gilbert’s book to read about her time in Indonesia. I tell you, I’m practically sitting on my hands at the moment to prevent myself from spending the remainder of the day reading her book. Although I checked the book out from the library, I have plans on purchasing my own copy top keep near my bed. I feel invigorated reading about Gilbert’s experiences. I feel validated on my spiritual quest. I feel less alone and less isolated. Imagine other people have shared similar experiences as me. Kind of makes life worth all the struggle. And yes, I take the joy with the struggle because I think that gives each of us substance. It reminds me of the life of a pearl. It reminds me of a rose bush. You can’t have the blooms without the thorns or the gem without the sand. Life deals us a full deck of emotions and its up to each of us to decide what to do with those emotions. We can either experience meltdowns on a regular basis, which I don’t advise or we can harness the power of those snakes and seek enlightenment. It’s an easy choice for me. Mexican soap operas or a Buddhist retreat?