(I wrote this post last Thanksgiving. I think it holds up so here it is again.)
When Oprah tells me to do something I do it. Okay maybe not her fiber fat flush.
When she offered me a 21 day meditation challenge with Oprah and Deepak* and it was free I thought, why not? At the very least it will quiet my restless mind. Oprah is not to be taken lightly and she doesn’t have to do this stuff with us.
The first day, Oprah and Deepak asked me to identify my DEEPEST desire. They said that if I asked my heart and was alert to my daily life the answer would come. Usually when I’m asked this question I close my eyes and the first image that comes to mind I take as a metaphor for the answer. The image was a lawn chair. Even as a metaphor - a modest chair, a resting place in a big expanse - a rest stop in a safari?- I couldn’t cram my usual superficial desires into the image. Deepak and Oprah said not to worry. They said to continue meditating and asking. The answer would come. I chanted the mantra and minded my breathing for eleven days but nothing came.
It was the meditation on Surrender that began to turn things around. I do not like to surrender to anything. I’d rather control things even if it means not going anywhere or doing anything or engaging with the rest of the world.
After the meditation on Surrender, I had the ‘new to me’ idea to surrender to a couple of things. This might sound lame but it was a new thought, a thought I would not have had before. The trick to surrendering is to catch yourself getting ‘your back up’ which means ‘defending’ yourself or your ego against something you perceive as threatening to the status quo. We just adore the status quo (even if it’s not that great.)
During the gratitude meditation that Oprah swears changed her forever, she quoted Meister Eckhart an old German mystic priest that I had read a long time ago. I trusted him. He said if you only say one prayer in your life let it be ‘thank you.’
Normally I would make fun of this to entertain myself. Really? Just say thank you? After years of looking at my life and shouting: Clean up in aisle three, uh and four the Universe is suddenly going to say: Polish the trumpets, somebody had an aha moment? Maybe.
That morning, feeling a bit dorky, I said thanks for the hot shower and for my strong legs and the warm and sunny weather in November. I continued with the meditation challenge and repeated my mantra even though pronouncing Om Vardhanam Namah for twenty minutes takes some doing.
During the gratitude meditation it came to me. It was such a jolt I had to open my eyes and begin to write this post. My deepest desire was UNDERSTANDING. That was the only desire I needed because it would lead me to everything else.
This is not earth shaking or even exciting. BUT to receive an answer to a question you’ve posed to your heart and mind and be CERTAIN of the answer is a pretty good discovery. I could use this method - surrender, alertness and gratitude - to get an answer to other things.
So what do we have here? Surrender to what comes your way (well, not a runaway bus), be alert to your daily life and say thank you (yes even for your annoying friend Delores who rants against the government non-stop). You can’t go wrong.
I say thank you every day for the people who read this blog. I am in your debt.
* Oprah & Deepak Meditation <firstname.lastname@example.org>