Julie Grinstead

I have been doing regular meditation for a couple of months now. With practice, it has become easier and easier for me to slip into a peaceful state. The hardest part, for me, is losing the dialogue that is constantly running in my head. It is easy to lose my body, to not feel my hands lying in my lap, not feel my ankles crossed, not feel my back sinking into the chair. The experience of floating above my physical self is becoming easier and easier to achieve. But the internal voice is difficult to turn off. This grows from the same root as the insomnia that plagues me at times, the absent-mindedness, the times people catch me smiling or laughing at something they don't hear or see.

A perceptive friend once told me that I live in my head much of the time. My body is always going, experiencing, feeling. I like to exert it, strengthen it, test myself physically. I like to be touched and held and loved. I love to sweat, dance, hike, run, roll in the grass. But my head is always in the experience, is always an integral part of what I am feeling. I am always analyzing. Even the process of trying to turn this off breaks into my ability to just let go, to be completely in the moment, to meditate

What I want to find is a field of silence. I want to hear only the universal "ohm" underlying and connecting all thoughts and sounds, to connect to the one voice, of which mine is a part. I work on pushing out thought without thinking about the process of pushing out thought. When a thought comes to you, the person guiding the meditation said, acknowledge it, look at it, then let it go. I sat in my chair, tuning out the music which was just a bit too loud. Tuning out my friend, Ken, who was sniffing and coughing and shuffling in the next chair. Tuning out the smell of the candles and the cracks of light filtering through the blinds. I relaxed into the meditation. I unexpectedly had a powerful vision.

I saw vines, or branches, wrapping around a blazing ball of light in my head. The branches then kept growing, right out through the top of my head, pushing out the ball of light, and for a few seconds or minutes I felt the complete absence of thought, the utter quiet inside me. As the branches came out of the top of my head, they cascaded down and I became a willow tree. I felt my body become the trunk of the tree, growing deep, deep into the ground. I felt the branches sway in the breeze and gently brush the ground. The ball of light became a million sparkles, like brilliant dew drops, on all of the branches. My trunk reached further and further into the ground, down deep into the crust of the earth.

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