Yes, that’s right. Meditation saved my life. Not once, but twice, and possibly in more ways than I’m capable of being aware of.
For the sake of time and energy, just understand that a daily, healthy mix of yoga and meditation previously pulled me out of a 10 year funk. (My story here.) With that said, we’ll fast forward to just a few days ago when meditation literally saved my life.
As I am now just one month shy of completing my Yoga Teacher Training Certification, I’ve reintroduced meditation into my life, and I’ve been practicing like never before. With the guidance of my instructors who have 25 years of yoga experience each, they’ve nailed into our noggins the idea of true meditation: a process of quieting the mind. Also, a state that happens after you quiet the mind. My teachers are very keen on keeping quiet: no visualizations, nothing. Just quieting the mind.
As part of our program we are offered to attend 10 of their meditation classes. It is the only part of the program that is not required, so I did not run out to fulfill these classes right off the bat. However, for the past month I’ve been waking up at 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday to sit with one of my teachers for an hour and a half. Also, the length of my daily meditation has grown after each daily yoga practice.
For anyone that has meditated, you quickly realize that your thoughts can keep coming at you. You learn to just watch them and let them fade. The more you meditate, the stronger this skill sharpens, and the smoother you sail over your shopping lists. For me, focusing intently on my breath is a very effective tool for concentration.
This past week I experienced an interesting perspective I call the Fisherman Perspective. As my mind would start to run away with a thought, this very sturdy, centered part of my mind would say, “Ulp, got one going there,” as he cast out his fishing line and reeled in the thought. Poof! The thought was gone and I was completely centered with the Fisherman. My mind was so centered, like never before. Moments later, the same thing occurred: I could see the thought running away and then the Fisherman Perspective reeling the thought in. Poof, the thought was gone, and I was centered. Of course I had to ask, “Who is that perspective?” I had previously felt more connected with the running thought, but to witness something else reel in that thought…. wow! And what a centered point of awareness that was.
So, that was my big bang that morning. Little did I know how centered my mind was. Luckily for me, my centered mind came quite in handy as I was scheduled for the dentist chair that afternoon. I used my last dentist visit as a meditation practice of Riding the Wave, where you ride out the sensations with complete awareness, rather than hiding or zoning out. This time, I was just so centered that I glided through the appointment with such ease (which is very unusual, as I’ve always had a fear of the dentist!!!)
Ok, so I’ll get to it: my life or death situation. I’m coming back from the dentist, and it’s me and two other cars flying down the highway going 75 mph. We’re all in the right lane, with plenty of space in between us. I’m the car in the middle.
I noticed a car pulled off on the right hand shoulder just up ahead. As soon as I noticed the car, one car turned to two, and I realized, “These cars are merging with us. Ok, kind of a dumb move, but we can all move into the left lane.” So car #1 and car #2 (me) move into the left lane. Then it all happened, and it all happened so quickly. The cars were not merging, they were crossing the highway. And they weren’t crossing the highway, they both stopped on the highway. Each car was now sideways across each lane. They had created a wall of death for me, my two driving buddies, and the 20 or more cars that were following behind us.
My first thought was, “Someone is going to die right now, and that someone might be me. Let’s see if we can get out of this.”
I was looking for a way out, but I had to play my actions by the two other drivers. If I go left, I’m crashing into the car that’s driving ahead of me. If I go right, the car behind me will crash into me. If I completely stop, the pack of cars will surely take care of me. From the centered, still part of my mind, I waited and I watched. I had no other choice but to slam on my breaks. As soon as the car behind me passed on the right, I quickly cut my wheel to the right, just missing the car blocking the road. I sped off, looked into my rear view mirror, and to my surprise the road behind me was clear. Everyone was safe.
Moments later I realized, “Hey, I’m not overreacting, breathing heavy, freaking out, or anything. I’m cool as a cucumber, so calm and centered. I was in Fisherman Perspective the whole time!” At that moment it clicked: all of those hours of meditation possibly just saved my life.
Thanks for the amazing pic, IntroMeditation