Today is ‘’Aandu pirappu’’.That means ‘’the birth of The New year’’ in the Malayalam Calendar. This day marks a memorable milestone in my life. I have completed a streak of one year of meditation on The Black Lotus App.
Chingam first, The new year day is considered very bright and auspicious as it brings light and sunshine after the long and dark spell of monsoons in Kerala. The sudden appearance of the tiny yellow flowers ( Mukkootti poovu )and the dragonflies (ona thumbi) in the garden and courtyard marks the change of season. Nature and people get ready for the harvest festival Onam. People cheer up to welcome’’ Maveli ‘’. Maveli is none other than Mahabali The demon King who ruled ancient Kerala, it is believed on the Onam day he visits his countrymen and ensures all are enjoying happiness and abundance the same way they did during his reign. During this season, we are filled with an air of Joie De Vivre at our village. Excited at the arrival of the vibrant Chingam month, I decided to take up a meditation challenge of one week on The Black Lotus App and happily declared it on my Facebook status. In this post, a friend of mine commented,‘’ I challenge you to meditate daily for one year from today’’. I was not expecting this. This seemed impossible. I am not the kind of person who will accept challenges from others. I mumbled my disapproval of his comment and quietly removed the post. I decided to meditate daily for a week on the Black Lotus App without making it public.
Just as it’s proven beyond doubt that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for the body is a super-efficient and effective way of keeping your body fit, Black Lotus is HIIT for your mind. That is, a short sprint of deliberate and mindful meditation is more powerful than a long duration of slack meditation.
I started taking one step at a time. My meditations were mostly a mechanical process. I was not expecting any change in me. I just surrendered the way I was. My mind was wandering, among the clouds of negative thoughts, worries, helplessness. My posture was just ‘’comfy’’. But my mood was peaceful most of the time.
As days passed I felt a sense of achievement about my routine. My one week challenge completed, I didn’t want to stop yet. I continued my daily ritual of short meditation.
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse at the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it
― Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs
FINDING MY COMFORT ZONE
I started browsing different Meditations on The App. There were a lot of meditation tracks to explore. Devotional, musical, guided, and non guided only to mention a few. There was not a single boring moment with Black Lotus. I was trying to find my taste. Soon I found I could meditate on music tracks for many days together. Devotional tracks in Swamiji’s Divine voice was soothing and reassuring on stressful days. I felt safe and relaxed under the umbrella of Black Lotus. Life had its ups and downs. My meditations kept on refreshing my mind body and soul one small step at a time.
During this time the childhood memoirs I was writing took a good speed. I felt an urge to make it into a Cookery Book. I wrote continuously without thinking much. There was no fear, the mind blocks started reducing, all credits to my meditation routine.
My close friend drove down miles on weekends to meet me on weekends. We discussed my writing over coffee in the evenings in cozy small restaurants… She encouraged me and cheered me. I felt a sense of purpose, which was quite new to me. I looked forward to meeting her with my word counts and chapters. Jai Sri Hari Bhagavan. We continued this schedule until the lockdown happened.
In zazen, leave your front door and your back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.
― Shunryu Suzuki
Miracles do happen. One day I forgot completely about my practice I was about to sleep. It was about ten minutes to midnight; I jumped up from the bed as if I was woken up by someone. I sat down for my short meditation, thus not breaking my streak. I know it is the Kripa of Sri Hari Bhagavan.
I started doing my yoga practice, and soon I was able to sit in a good posture after many months. The day I entered in my meditation journal, posture was ‘’perfect’’ is an unforgettable day. Connecting Yoga and Meditation is essential to make that balance. If you are not into yoga, any other exercise will do, this warms up the body and makes it flexible for sitting straight and unmoved.
FINDING MOMENTS OF MINDFULNESS
Our struggles shape us; they define us.
I mostly sit down for meditation with many flickering thoughts in my mind. I am taking it kindly. ‘’Yogas Chitta Vridhi Nirodha ‘’ is a long way to go. We must consider clearing the mind clutter daily and with compassion to self. Some clutter we are responsible, sometimes we get dumped with clutter from outside sources. We cannot avoid or escape this situation. I feel delighted whenever I find glimpses of clean mind space. This sometimes happens while engrossed in music or sometimes while cooking or at some unexpected moments.
It is a comforting thought to know that we have this richness within, and t can be reclaimed. But patience and surrender is the key. I am happy to find the occasional green shoots of hope.
Meditation is no more a mechanical activity now. It is an act of Love. I would happily sit down for a short meditation at any time of the day. Meanwhile, my Cookery Book is progressing. I am grateful to my friend, who playfully challenged me when I started with my one-week meditation challenge. This is a beautiful journey.
The next step after finding true Love is the expected ‘’happily ever after’’.
I can assure you; It is easy on the Black Lotus App. You only have to take that first step. What about taking it today.
From My Library:
Here are two books from my most loved Authors
A Million Thoughts
By Om Swami
The Artist’s Way
By Julia Cameron