No matter how hard I try, I can never count to 20 before an unbidden thought arises from inside of me. I get to three or four while meditating and images pop up on an internal screen capturing my attention. I dare not try this counting method until my body and mind are both well-settled and I can “let go.”
I “pre-set” my mind to simply let the thoughts drift away, to disappear before taking more than a glancing notice. The images, however, bombard my mind if I start the count too soon. A cascade of pictures and corresponding emotions beckon me to “grasp” a thought and shape it into an idea, such an enticing idea, that I simply cannot release it without adding to and building upon it. One thought leads to another and then another until the amount of time I planned for this practice has come and gone.
By then, however, my entire body is completely relaxed. All I need do is to merge the stillness of my five senses with the tumultuous mind racing all over. I allow myself more time, as I sense a calm take over. It’s a glow of sorts that flows through and in me.
It is time, Michael J, to leave thoughts behind and jump into the openness your body has formed. Oh, the thoughts will still come. But almost by magic I discover I am stronger and can start the count over. Thoughts will no longer have control over my mind. I can take in — but not get “hooked by — the siren call like an Odysseus strapped to a ship’s mast by his fellow disciplined (and ear clogged) warriors sailing home from some foreign war.
I nudge away the thought and return to my breath. (Four . . . five . . . six) I see myself standing next to the opening of a giant tunnel shaft. I am inside my body and I watch and feel air ebb and flow through what I now recognize as my windpipe. I’m the guardian of this air flow, in charge of its uninterrupted passage.
Slightly shifting my focus, I return to other parts of my body and direct a soothing calm to those areas still knotted and coiled up. They loosen. They open and retract. (Seven . . . eight . . . nine)
Now I’m free to join the airwaves. To become like a feather, a snow flake, a paratrooper jettisoning from some airborne carrier. I float with nary a care for the past or the future. I’m smack-dab in the middle of present time.
I’m totally aware of my surroundings, my world made of sounds and sensory feelings. Like someone who just jumped from a plane in mid-air, I see my chute has opened, that I am free to simply be and enjoy the best life has always offered but I was too busy to slow down and see. Ten . . . eleven . . . twelve.
It is just me and the world around me now. There’s no one else, no thing other than the glorious air filling me breath after breath. (Thirteen . . . fourteen . . . fifteen)
I’m joined by everything within and everything outside of me. I am part of and in the universe, the cosmos, the God that was and is God before any Creation, before the first dependent cause or condition. (Sixteen . . . seventeen . . . eighteen)
I am together. I am united. I am at nineteen. I’m at twenty.
I AM WITH ONE.