“There are several steps to this meditation,” Dora Kunz was saying, “And with each one, if you hit an obstacle, just set it aside.”
I had come, as had those around me, to learn more from this enlightened soul. Having experienced the sense of renewal that meditation could bring, I was excited to be learning from such an expert. Dora Kunz had practiced meditation from the age of five, she’d told us. Now in her nineties, she had endless wisdom to impart.
“Take a deep breath in,” she started, “and as you exhale, release any tension in your body.” I breathed in, noticing that the area between my shoulder blades was knotted in tension. I tried to envision it breaking up with my breath, but it wouldn’t let go. “If your tension won’t release, just acknowledge it and set it aside.” I could do that. “Now, without speaking, affirm to yourself: I am at peace with myself; and allow yourself to feel it.”
Breathe in. I am at peace with myself. Breathe out. A niggling in the pit of stomach said, No you’re not. I knew it wasn’t true. I was not at peace with myself.
“If you feel doubts, set them aside. If you are unable to do that, than act as if you are at peace with yourself.”
It is as if I am at peace with myself. Ah, that felt better. I could imagine as if.
“Now allow yourself to become aware of the person on either side of you, and beyond them to the circle gathered here, and affirm: I am in harmony with those gathered here.” This was easier to do. We’d come together with a common goal. I inhaled the warmth of our kinship, and felt myself relax a little deeper.
“Continuing to breath deeply, allow your awareness to expand beyond these walls and connect with the nature that surrounds us. State: I am at one with Nature.”
The meditation room was surrounded by nature on all sides. Following her instructions, I imagined myself breathing in the fresh country air, the vivid green of the trees vibrating around me, and the trickling sound of the brook flowing through me. I am at one with Nature, I repeated to myself. With each breath, I felt as if my body and my heart pulsed with the rhythm of nature; everything interconnected. I was now deeply relaxed, surrendering myself.
“Now pull your awareness back into your own center.” Focusing on my center, I drew my breath in, the sensation of relaxation filling my belly with a calm strength.
“From this center of calm and strong, connect beyond this room, beyond nature and the world, beyond the galaxy, to a universe of order and compassion.” Slowly, she spoke her command, and my awareness obliged, expanding and reaching beyond the beyond, feeling that connection, as if a silver cord of consciousness tied me to an eternal, omnipotent intelligence. I connected with order and compassion; and the presence of unconditional love, and in that moment knew that all was as it was supposed to be: life has reason, and purpose, and meaning. I wanted to remain suspended in this realm of knowing: free.
“When you are ready, let your breath bring you back into this room, to the awareness of your body in the chair. Gently move your fingers and toes, allowing yourself to return to full consciousness, renewed and restored, and at your own pace, opening your eyes.”
Reluctantly, I became aware of the room around me, and ever so slightly moved my fingers. With a yawn, I let my body wake up, breathing life back into it and stretching. I felt so good, so calm, so alive!
A universe of order and compassion, I thought to myself. What a wonderful idea! If only I could remember it in my day-to-day living.