Back in January, I went to a day-long workshop of White Tantric Yoga. One of the suggestions after attending such an intense day of meditation is to pick a personal practice and commit to 40 days. For about a week, I was resistant to the idea and was very happy continuing on with my 11 minutes of Kirtan Kriya every day. It was working for me, and I didn't want to change it or add anything else.
However, I'm not one to dip a toe in the waters of life - I tend to jump in and completely immerse myself in an experience (emigrating to a new country, having five children, and obsessively learning new hobbies in the space of a week are examples that come quickly to my mind). After humbling myself and opening my mind up to the possibility of trying something new, I found myself jumping into a 40 day commitment in a spectacularly huge way.
I am halfway through a 40 day meditation that lasts 2.5 hours each day. I have a busy household, so the only way to fit it in is to start at 4 am. I also am carrying on with my Kirtan Kriya - I've been doing that every day for many months and don't want to stop - and another meditation for abundance and prosperity. All together, it takes nearly 3 hours to finish my daily meditation commitments.
I was very determined for the first week. I managed to get through the 2.5 hours and then immediately launched into the other two afterwards. After a few days, I started feeling really tense and overwhelmed; my children would start waking up by 6.30am, so they were wanting breakfast and interrupting me while I was trying to concentrate. It also just felt completely overwhelming to fit all that in before the start of the day, so I finally gave myself permission to do my other meditations later in the day. What a relief! I know it's only a half an hour difference, but now I can complete my meditation and sneak back into bed for another hour or so. My husband now gets up with the children and serves breakfast to the toddler, so I can recover for a little bit before officially starting the day in daylight!
I've got a little routine going, and a vaguely comfortable set up. I like to meditate in a darkened room, but I have a subdued light that I turn on so I can see well enough. I use a couple of blankets and several cushions that I can use to sit on, or prop my knees up with or lean back on. Sometimes I take a break and just wiggle around a little bit, stretch, flop over, whatever. Sitting in the same position for hours at a time is not super comfortable for me, sadly!
So this all begs the question - why?? If I am losing out on sleep and sitting in uncomfortable positions to merely sit in a darkened room chanting a mantra in a foreign language, what am I actually getting out of it?
Yogi Bhajan is the Kundalini Master who openly taught this and many other meditations and kriyas to the world. He talked about this meditation:
All mantras are good, and are for the awakening of the Divine. But this mantra is effective, and is the mantra for this time....to become one with the Divine.
Sounds good to me. I've been talking about Ego and how to strip it away, and this meditation is REALLY GOOD for that. Strip away the layers, reveal your true self, and see God to be like Him. That's the goal, right? That's why we're here, isn't it? I think so, anyway.
Obviously I don't think that this meditation is the only answer to returning to live in God's presence, not even close. But, it is a lever; it helps to change you in a very specific and efficient way.
My experiences so far have been surprising. I have had greater clarity of thought, in spite of my near-constant state of exhaustion! I have been able to cope with stress and anxiety in ways I never thought possible a few months ago. I am releasing trapped emotions all over the place. A few days ago, I had an intense experience. For some reason I couldn't pinpoint, I started crying during the meditation. The crying got more and more overwhelming, to the point where I could only chant one cycle of the mantra before I had to take a break to cry my heart out. I felt like I was being put through the wringer and ended up curling into the foetal position to have a little sleep. I woke up a little while later and finished the meditation feeling lighter in my heart and didn't cry again. Whew. That was unexpected, I must say. The next day, I went through some strong feelings of anger and sullen recalcitrance. I quite literally folded my arms and turned back into myself in a huff, refusing to chant for a while. After an undetermined amount of time I felt better and was able to resume meditating. So funny!
This is an interesting experience for me, and I'm happy to carry on, but I am also looking forward to completing my task. Oh, to sleep in.....