Guided meditation (for when your child goes off to college)

Telluride Daily Planet,  Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sit comfortably on planet Earth, which is nestled quietly among the more than 300 billion stars in its galaxy and swathed by an interstellar medium of gas, dust and cosmic rays. Your eyes are closed, palms facing upward. No one is looking at you. No one cares what you look like sitting there. You are unseen. Try to un-see yourself.
Take a deep breath in, and then breathe out, noting the feeling of air near the nostrils. Note also — peripherally — that the air you breathe has been circulating since the beginning of Earth time. Note that you are, therefore, breathing the same air as Plato, Shakespeare, the early hominins, Medieval nuns, Egyptian slaves and Elizabethan queens. Think of Queen Elizabeth, without her neck and wrist ruffs on, breathing the air a bit less regally. Her face is free of the makeup she wore to cover her smallpox scars. All of her is breathing, even her skin, and as she feels the heavy folds of her velvet robes against her torso, she sighs, wishing to rip the corset off and get more air in her lungs.

Relax your shoulders and breathe. What is air, anyway? Is it space? Time? Is space/time untaken breaths of spirit? Maybe air is negative space with quantum memory. What if you imagined space as positive and matter as negative: then, with your brain stretched out in unfamiliar territory, could you meditate better for a few split seconds?

Stop thinking unanchored and abstract thoughts. Release the tension in your eyeballs so that they float in the orbital bones like jellyfish eyes. That tight muscle on the bridge of your nose and across the flat plane of your upper cheekbones? Make it like liquid, along with your lips, and then believe that all you have to do to meditate is relax your entire face. Your face is melting. You are meditating now.

Feel the emptiness of the space between your relaxed ears, the negative space inside the cranial bones of your head. It is small yet it is huge in there. Besides being 100 billion neurons each firing somewhere between five and 50 times a second, what is the brain? What kind of organ weighs three pounds but sucks up 25 percent of the glucose processed in the human body?

Could you stop trying to do math? Sincerely, though, what is math? Is everything numbers? As a counterweight, think about how you are so not thinking when you are doing balancing pose in yoga class, how you are actually more like your childhood dog, dead in his tracks in the middle of the room, head hanging, pausing. Maybe pausing is meditating: what a brilliant notion. Or is that just your ego shining its artificial light?

Blue sapphire light in your throat, think about that. How blue it is, that clear yet mysterious gemstone color! Does the color exist for you without the letters b-l-u-e attached to it? Relax your throat. Call it a gullet and relax that. Feel particles of light filling your blue gullet and then radiating out into your limbs until they feel like they will explode. No, not explode. Yes, explode, why not explode?

Once you explode like a star, you can blow your monkey mind to smithereens. Words are scattering across the globe, the same word-atoms that Shakespeare and people like Virginia Woolf used. With words sprayed everywhere and all the letters tumbling over each other in three dimensions, they rain through you, cleansing you, especially the vowels. They come out your fingertips and drip out, and all of a sudden you’ve accidentally swallowed the blue in your throat and it goes to your heart and wow you notice when it gets there it turns green, just like the yoga teacher says. Green like the moss in the forest the other day, which is a green so vibrant and wet and alive it glows, there in soft tufts along the banks of the river, water lapping up on to it every so often, spume occasionally dotting it with fairy mist.

Picture yourself in the forest, now, a green-ness down deep in your core where its vibration then bounces off your heart and back out again, pinging you into triangulation with every other green living thing around you. The forest floor, soft from rain and fir needles and shade, meets your feet and then you run. You run, run, run until you feel the universal heart throbbing through you, life blood hot in your ears and drowning everything out except the pulse of the eternal present.

And there is where you stay, for as long as you can, breathing in, breathing out.

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