If you’ve been following along at home, you know that sitting still to meditate has been a long-running struggle for me. I’ve typically opted for walking meditation as a way to soothe my restless body while clearing my mind. (Read my previous post about this, Walking with Deepak & Oprah.)
But during a recent trip to Yogaville, I had a breakthrough.
Entering the LOTUS Shrine
On our first full day at Yogaville, we had an opportunity to participate in a scheduled, unguided meditation session at The LOTUS Shrine. LOTUS stands for the Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), and it was created to provide, “a permanent place where all people could come to realize their essential oneness and to know the infinite peace that lies beyond the grasp of the finite mind.” (Read a bit more about it on The Bindu blog.)
Unlike other sacred spaces, this shrine goes way beyond just being ecumenical; it pays homage to all religions, known and unknown. As I walked around the circular building and reviewed the mini-altars for each religion, I felt a great sense of ease brought on by the “oneness” and acceptance of all faiths. By the time we made it around the circumference, I knew that if there was ever I place I could sit and meditate, this would be it.
The Meditation Begins
After grabbing a pillow, putting it on the floor and sitting down, I took stock of where I was, who I was with (my lovely and wonderful, friend and studio director, Sari) and my surroundings. I thought of the incredible journey that had brought me to this moment in time. The gongs chimed and I closed my eyes. I shifted in my seat for the first few moments while the religious quotes from the numerous altars danced in my head. Tears surfaced in my closed eyes and ran down my cheeks, as I became overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude.
Now at this point in my story, you probably expect me to regale you with some major epiphany that revealed itself to me while meditating. I hate to disappoint, but no deeply buried truth bubbled up. In fact, the breakthrough was that I simply sat, letting my mind stay unattached while hundreds of thoughts entered my consciousness and, just as quickly, left. The breakthrough was that I stayed fully present, focusing on my breath. The breakthrough was that I stayed put for about 27 of the 30 minutes (my legs had started falling asleep, so I opened my eyes and adjusted my sitting position).
When the gong signaled the end of the meditation session, I felt like my mind had just run through a wide open field, taking in the whole environment without getting attached to a single flower, tree, or blade of grass. I felt rejuvenated, relaxed and frankly, accomplished that I completed almost the entire session successfully. That, my friends, was quite a breakthrough in itself.