Although I’ve practiced yoga on and off for some ten years, I’ve never really, truly meditated. You know, the deep meditations with the lights and the meeting your higher self like people talk about? These kinds of meditations took time, patience and practice, and well, I never invested those things. My meditations had been 15 minutes at most, and I was usually sitting on my floor, legs falling asleep, thinking about what I was going to eat when I was done.
I was excited because I never know what doors will open, what amazing revelation or earth shaking experience I’ll have when I embark on a new spiritual experience.
I was also nervous and preparing to be very agitated and bored of sitting cross-legged on the floor and chanting the same thing after just a half hour into the 2 1/2 hour long meditation.
I got out of bed after just four hours of sleep, drove on empty roads, and pulled into a parking spot right in front of the tiny one room yoga studio. When I walked in, there were six other yogis there, all dressed in the traditional white cotton clothing customary of the Kundalini yoga tradition, and none of whom I knew except my teacher. I gathered a yoga mat and a folded blanket to sit on, taking extra care to set up a comfortable area for myself for the long journey I was about to go on. It felt magical to be sitting in a room with six yogis at 3 am in a dark, sleeping city. What was I about to experience? I filled up my water bottle in preparation for a dry throat from so much chanting, took a few big gulps, placed my hands in gyan mudra, and we began.
The first thing that crossed my mind: “Gasp! What if have to pee?! Is there even a bathroom here?” Oh well, moving on. I got into the chant and just enjoyed the act of chanting, remembering to keep my back tall and straight and a light chin lock to let the energy flow all the way up my chakras. I love chanting and was happy to be chanting ek ong kar. It had been a long time since I had chanted it.
Group chanting is an amazing experience. Each person is having their own experience which they transmit through their voice, contributing to a very sweet, peaceful group energy. Each chant carries its own ancient vibration that combines with the group energy and penetrates your whole body, mind, heart and spirit and is then transmitted back to the group. So it just grows and grows.
Time faded away. Ek ong kar sat nam siri wahe guru was all that existed. Over and over again. Sometimes I would get a bit uncomfortable, lose a little energy and I would slump a little, lowering my voice. This was calming and soothing. Then the mantra would reinvigorate me. I would feel a power and an energy, then I would sit back up straight and belt it out all the way from my diaphragm.
The voices in the room were all that existed. I tuned in to each one, imagining myself jumping in to the bodies of the other chanters just for a minute. How long had it been? 45 minutes? 2 hours? There were visions and shapes and pleasant feelings- feelings of nostalgia and peace. I felt myself in cities I had lived in before. I experienced a block of Uptown Minneapolis just like I was there. I saw every building and tree. I experienced my home town of Beloit, Wisconsin. I could feel this place inside of me. I felt myself inside of it. “Ek ong kar sat nam siri wahe guru, ek ong kar sat nam siri wahe guru. The sound was taking over.
I was back in Asheville now, looking at the street in my mind’s eye. My arms and head started to buzz. I was losing touch. It felt like I was going to float right up out of the top of my head into God knows what. I didn’t know what I was experiencing, and if I let myself go, I didn’t know if I could ever come back. For a second everything was gone. My personality was gone. “Wait, who am I? What’s my personality? Quick! Remember! Ground yourself! Ground!” I struggled and made myself connect with the person who was chanting. Feel my voice. I mentally planted roots from my tailbone into the earth. A bit of panic, then slowly I started to feel myself again. I saw myself driving home. I saw my husband and my dog and my life. I was so very glad to be in my body and to have all of it.
On and on, I continued chanting. And then suddenly it was over just like that. I was shocked at the silence. Shocked that I had just meditated for 2 1/2 hours. We all enjoyed some delicious soothing, spicy yogi tea quietly while bringing ourselves back into the world again.
It’s very hard to put into words what I experienced in my meditation. It brought me a real appreciation for my life and a deep love and gratitude for the person I am- this body, the personality that I’ve created.
My first deep meditation was magical and unlike anything I’ve experienced before. There’s nothing more exciting to me in the world than spiritual experiences like these- experiences that shake me and show me the depth of spirit, the depth of myself. I live for these glimpses outside of the limited experiences of our five senses, the moments of clarity, of glimpsing the vastness and depth of the universe.
I don’t know what that experience was of losing touch with myself. Was I about to have an out of body experience? Did I experience a glimpse of my own death, or the absence of my ego? It’s part of the beautiful mystery that spiritual practices show me. Probably I’ll get a better understanding over time, but you know, there’s that whole rabbit whole thing.
Cheers to fun mystical experiences my friends, and please share your own experiences in the comments. I would love to hear them!