The three experiences occurred during a period in which I had just started practicing meditation, one of the eight limbs of yoga. My daily meditation practice consisted of sitting silently, cross-legged on the floor for ten minutes after my half hour yoga practice. I had begun my meditation journey with five minutes per practice and added a minute every week or two. It took me months to get to ten minutes! I would count with each inhalation and exhalation until I got to ten and then start over again. I found that this helped me focus on my breath.
I never really became what I considered "good" at it, because I wasn't able to still my mind. Thoughts continued to race. What I came to realize though, is that I was sorta good at it simply by virtue of doing it. Also, although my mind often raced, I was paying attention to those thoughts and beginning to realize that they really weren't who I was. They were simply thoughts and did not define me. I tried to watch them float by my mind's eye, like clouds, instead of becoming attached or bogged down by my thoughts. This gave me the sensation of being free. It also did some wacky things, which are the three experiences I alluded to.
Here they are:
- I was laying in bed taking a nap, which is rare for me, and when I awoke the words, "don't think, just keep going," clearly came to me. I did not feel as if I had uttered these words. I felt as if they had come from some where else. I didn't hear them, really, they just came to me. Now, that might not sound all that profound as these things go, but it was so clear, and actually quite relevant to what was going on in my life at the time, and it was very contrary to the way I usually do things.
- I went to bed one night feeling really down. Things weren't going well at work, things weren't going well at home. I was stressed out and worried. When I awoke in the morning I felt this warm glow emanating from deep inside me and out through my pores, almost as if a light was shining from within. I felt so happy I thought I was going to cry. There was no reason for this happiness. It was who I am deep inside. It only lasted for about a minute, but I reveled in it. It truly felt miraculous. In my previous post about where happiness comes from, this is a perfect example of what I was talking about.
- This is my favorite. One morning while I was meditating, I was distracted by a lovely smell, but it was just outside my grasp in terms of being able to identify it. The smell evoked a feeling of home and of childhood. The next day, I smelled it again. This time I knew what it was. Melted butter on toast! I thought to myself, "how odd that I can smell the neighbor's breakfast." I smelled the exact same smell several more times. After giving it some thought, I realized that I have NEVER smelled food from a neighbor's house, never mind the fact that it was 5am and nobody else in their right mind was awake. What was going on here? Who knows? In my meditative state I was accessing some olfactory memory that made me feel at peace and happy.
Since I had Josias I have not had the time nor space to meditate, and I have not experienced any of these wonders. Were they really the result of meditation? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to the time I start a regular mediation practice again to find out. Has anyone else experienced what they consider a bit outside of "normal" experience as a result of yoga?