Rest in Peace.

September 21st, 2010

I do yoga, not well, but I do it.
I do fine with the crescents, half moons, full moons, crocodiles, dogs, cats, cows as well as other various animals and solar objects. I can balance with a heel tucked into my groin, (yes, even my own heel and mostly my own groin) I squat in various positions that I’m not sure how to get out of, and hold “chair” till I weep, often opting for the “bar stool” position our  instructor suggests for those of us struggling.

But it is the last 10 minutes spread out on my back in meditation that I don’t do so well with. My body longs for this time the entire hour. As I hold plank cursing the day I was born, I try to turn my mind to the reward at the end of class, ahhh, meditation!

Eventually I drop my bag of bones down on the mat and let the peace wash over me. Only, the peace never quite washes, it’s more of an annoying dribble. Teasing, taunting, testing, trying, tempting…. (And yes, peace likes alliteration, who knew) And this is where it all goes wrong.

Our instructor’s soft voice innocently asks us one simple harmless question, “Imagine your favourite place, the place that brings you peace, that calms and renews you. Perhaps it’s a beach, or the woods, or on your favourite couch….”

Me: “Right, peaceful place, peaceful place… ahh, yes, lets see, it has to be my childhood beach, with the gentle waves kissing the shore, a pleasant breeze perhaps, perfect….oh no, what about that wonderful spot on the bay, oh yes, I loved going down there watching the children dance in delight as the pippies bubbled around their toes at low tide……….hang on, wait a minute, no no, I really love that bench under the Moreton Bay fig trees with a view of the harbour boats as the sun glistens on the water like shards of cut glass, just stunning…mmmmn, or what about just out the back of our house here in the woods, on a winters night with the snow tucking it’s blanket around the earth? Now that’s peace, talk about peace…no actually, it’s really just got to be in bed, not having anything to do, anywhere to be, to go…
Ahhh yes bed, I wish I were in bed now…so tired…”

Instructor: “Ok, so come back slowly from your peaceful place now, waking gently to this moment before you…”

And there it is folks, it’s true. I can turn the simple task of finding one peaceful place into something as stressful as sitting for a final year law exam.
Apparently I have just too much peace in my life to be at peace! And now excuse me while I chase after my mind, it’s gone running into a forest which I can’t see for the trees…

Copyright (C) 2010 By Meg Lawton. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Cheryl says:

    Haha! I so know EXACTLY how you feel.  You are not alone on this one!

  2. kim says:

    I often struggle to determine that peaceful place during meditation!- as it has to be completely in my imagination- free from ALL distractions; bugs, screaming kids, motors. And then  when I think I have it, something in my body starts to ache a little and the reality of all that needs to be done swarms in like buzzing bees. Practice is what I need, practice of not thinking! sigh…I think there is fear in emptying your mind in case you are unable to re-boot!

  3. Helen Marshall says:

    I have used this technique for so many things in my life.
    I never go to a place I know – it’s totally imaginary. That way you don’t spend time remembering details or pushing your brain to think or select. It’s always the same place – I feel that I will perhaps find myself there one day.
    It’s wonderful for pain relief – it takes your conscious mind where you feel the pain and subordinates it to the unconscious. Also terrific for sleeping. I’m surprised you don’t go to sleep during meditation – or do you?
    I go through the same routine – the place, setting me in it, feeling the atmoshere- the sun, the breeze, the temperature etc. and how I feel in this place.
    I loved your writing – it was beautiful. And what a great idea.

  4. Meg says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m a complete insomniac as I find it so difficult to turn off my brain! ….and then when I really need my brain it seems to have hit the snooze button :)


  5. My Homepage says:

    I was very thrilled to discover this site on google.I wished to say many thanks to you with regard to this wonderful post!! I surelyappreciated every little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to look into new stuff you post.

  6. Steve Platt says:

    At 72 I ageee w/ u Meg.  It is seriously hard to be still.  I am tending toward Buddhism .  

  7. Meg, just got your article in my inbox this morning and soooo resonated with it. I am just back from beautiful Santorini where I met someone who practices yoga, Tony Hall aka grimmly2007. My sisters and I disrupted his very disciplined daily routine and in return he taught us some breathing exercises. I am toying with the idea of taking up Yoga, but it looks so bendy and difficult! Anyway, over the years, I have tried different forms of meditation and have had some interesting experiences, but have never reached that moment of peace and  silence of the mind. Like you, I flitter from thought to thought and even end up rearranging my ‘peaceful place’. Ian and yourself were kind enough to allow me use your articles on my site in the past.  I hope that you won’t mind if I use this one. x

  8. We “Look! A bird!!” types were created this way. It has to be perfect, right? Just a different path. I’ll see at the fork in the road:)

  9. Joan says:

    Meg, I have finally hit on a weird  way to get past that busy busy mind when it’s time to get to sleep.  I lie on top of the covers until I’m really cold, I mean really cold.  Then I slip into the warmth and drift right off.  Sometimes I snuggle up to my husband for a little more heat (poor guy).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ofcourse Martine, I’d be happy for you to use it :) I highly recommend yoga, start small – you’ll feel better for it!

  11. Mary says:

    Very funny!  I can so relate.

  12. weisseis says:

    Eine Methode wie Yoga, kann das Mitgefühl zur grossen Seele nicht ersetzen. Entweder man ist in ihr, trotz allem Bemühen, nur die Einladung von Gott kann befreien. 

  13. I can completely relate. I’ve been told that all it takes is practice. Although after years of practice, I still haven’t tamed my mind…

  14. I’ve tried meditation it doesn’t work-not for me anyway. To unwind walking is what works best in my case and just looking at the picture you used. Love it.

  15. Cavarna's Inner Works says:

    Thank you for sharing! Practice makes perfect, well not just a little better each day.  Work is never done..:)

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