I was up early this morning, sitting out in the yard and watching the sky for the Perseid Meteor Shower. The moon is at the last quarter and at 3:00am was almost right overhead. It was hovering below and to the left of the Great Square of Pegasus, near the constellation Perseus, from where the meteors appeared to come. That just means the moon kept the night sky from being dark enough to see the dramatic meteor show we’ve seen in years past. Some years friends and I will go to the beach late at night and watch them. It’s a very magical and mystical time. A meteor is a bright light cascading from the sky. I like the Perseids shower because Helena Blavatsky‘s birthday is August 12, and her writings were an early influence to me. I read much simpler fare now by far, but she helped shaped what I have come to know. She was indeed a bright light that came steaming into my life, so I think it is fitting that her birthday coincides each year with this meteor shower. According to legend, Perseus was able to behead Medusa by seeing her via the reflection in his polished shield, and his helmet of invisibility allowed him to escape. I think that is, esoterically, what Blavatsky’s early teachings taught me: how to approach my personal demons through reflection upon what is in front of me. And that being as transparent as I can be is my ticket to freedom.
What’s freedom anyway? What is being free? When I was a kid, I was often restricted to my room for something I did to piss off my dad. Mom taught me early on to enjoying reading and sketching, so being grounded was no big deal. I could always read and transport myself far, far away. I felt free, even though I was restricted to my little bedroom.
A dear brother, Bo Lozoff, wrote We’re All Doing Time. Although the book concerns itself with the lives of people in prison, it is not about prisons or prison reform. It is about people and the spiritual work that they do. Bo recognizes that everybody just wants to feel good. Sometimes this basic urge leads to bad decisions, which in turn lead to spending time behind bars. Prisoners, like all of humanity, are still embroiled in the search for truth and enlightenment, a quest that never ends, no matter what the surrounding conditions may be. He wrote the book to help prisoners, but as Bo points out, we’re all doing hard time until we find freedom inside ourselves. It’s an instruction manual for gaining control of your life and quieting your mind so that you can really see what is going on.
That’s one reason I make it a point to meditate each day. To quiet my mind so that I can really see what is going on in my life. In the evening, I do yoga stretches and meditate after work, and that helps settle down the thoughts of the busy day. That feels like my wind down time. It is my daily happy hour. In the morning, I meditate at 4:00 a.m. and that feels like my tune up time. I have learned to just sit for my hour, and release as many thoughts as I need to, as often as I need to. I no longer worry about am I in there yet? Am I there now? Yes! Oh darn, now I’m back out. But wait I’m back, now out again… I just sit and put in my time. I just show up and breathe.
I’m convinced that is how I can get away with so little sleep: because I meditate. Even thought I sleep twice a day for 3-4 hours at a stretch, I count my two hours daily meditation as sleep time as well.
Your meditation time can simply be 10 minutes sitting in a quiet corner, maybe facing a favorite sacred image next to a candle. Just breathing gently, breathing away thoughts as they come up. When I worked for law offices, I would take a few minutes several times during the day to just sit and breathe the thoughts away. It’s how I stayed so present and good at my work. Sure, things would get to me, but as I got in the practice of breathing them away, it became easier and easier. I began looking forward to what has evolved into my daily breathing practice.
It’s one of my keys to a peaceful life. And I’m convinced it’s also a key to youth. I think I have less wrinkles because I don’t worry, so I have less frown lines. I feel rejuvenated every time I meditate, like I got my holy infusion for the day, my charge of the Universal juice. My mind feels clearer, my body feels energized.
Meditation is what gives me my inner glow. I know I have it. If you’ve met me in person, you’ve seen it. I’m not being vain, I just know who I am and where it comes from. I had resistance to doing my meditation as a daily discipline for about 20 years, although I did it. Now I look forward to it because I can tell the difference when I don’t meditate. When I do, I feel like that meteor, like a bright shining star streaking across the sky.
Wave to me as I go past if you see me, ok?