AN EMPTY VOID
It was June 19, 2009 and I had just finished my last class at Florida State University and my parents were driving down Florida’s Turnpike on their way to Tallahassee, FL to watch my graduation ceremony, and they were very proud of me. I had just been accepted into law school, and from the perspective of an outsider looking in, everything may have seemed perfect. Everything was not perfect, in fact my life was far from perfect, I was downhearted and alone. My close college friends who shared the same interests and love for everything that was college had gone their separate ways. Most of my friends had already graduated, became employees at fantastic companies, and a few were even getting married. Not only had I lost my connection with the people who were equally as enthusiastic as myself when it came to drinking, going to local bars, chasing girls, and watching college football, but I knew that these past few years and the awesomeness that was college, would never occur again. I was lost, alone, and headed towards an uncertain future. I frequently shared my feelings with my parents but they would shrug their shoulders and say, “Joe, you are going to law school and your future will be bright. Stop being depressed, you have no reason to be” I knew that my parents were probably right in their assumption; however, the unknown is what scared me. I didn’t know who I was anymore or where I was headed, all I knew was that I was headed to law school.
The first day of my new life as a law student started without a hitch. My father and I rented a moving truck and left at the crack of dawn to set out on my new journey. We arrived in Orlando, FL around 10:00 AM on the morning of July 2, 2009. We unpacked my belongings, did some shopping for different odds and ends that I needed, and together my father and I made my apartment into a comfort zone. After my father left me I had a minor panic attack and realized that this was the first night of my life that I was official on my own; no roommates, no girlfriend, no parents, not even a pet. I was the only living organism in my apartment and I felt more alone than I ha felt during my last few days of undergraduate school at Florida State University.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The first day of law school orientation was fun and I honestly felt like my loneliness was past me. We were assigned to groups of ten where we met people who had similar interests as one another. The school had previously given us a questionnaire with fifty questions to figure out in hopes that people would find others who were similar and enjoyed similar activities, in essence they were trying introduce us to friends. The group I was assigned to changed my life forever. I met an individual who we will call “Sally” for privacy purposes. I thought she was super cute and I asked her what she enjoyed and what her hobbies were. She said Yoga, Painting, and Meditation. The second she told me that she was interested in meditation I automatically became more curious about her, as I was not into Yoga and Painting, but I wanted to talk to her about something. I am not very artistic and Yoga never really appealed to me. However, ever since I was a young child I could always remember my dad telling me that I should meditate, as he claimed that it would solve all of my problems and direct me towards a successful path in life. I always blew him off as being a crazy hippy, but when a hot girl told me the same thing, it automatically grabbed my attention, after all I could talk to her about the little I had already learned from my dad. It was an automatic conversation starter. We discussed other things too that day, none of which I can remember other than the topic of meditation. When I got home that night I started researching mediation, the different forms, and how meditation influences other cultures. I also took out books from the library and developed my own techniques. Now I am going to teach you some of the simple techniques I use ever day.
HERE IS HOW I MEDITATE:
1. Find a comfortable chair that does not recline. Make sure that it is not too comfortable, as you do not want to fall asleep. A perfect “comfort medium” is necessary. Make sure there enough comfort; however, make sure there is enough stiffness and support to keep you awake.
2. Your Mental State is Key: Focus on something peaceful. A candle light, a sound in nature, or a light in the distance. The object or sound which you focus on can either be in an audio or visual form. Just make sure you focus! If in an audio form, make sure you close your eyes. While focusing in on one of these objects or sounds, imagine you are weightless, slowly floating away. Imagine yourself being healed by the air around you. If negative thoughts come into your mind do not focus in on them, in fact imagine them entering one ear and out the other ear. Furthermore, when good thoughts come into your mind, let them enter and then exit peacefully. As you are letting the negative and positive energy run through you, try to focus in on something that you really want in life. Imagine this “something” as if you are a part of it or as if it is a part of you. However, unlike the good and bad thoughts, let the ones you desire keep coming to you and try to re-create the scenario in your head many times, over and over again.
3. Repetition. This process should be done every day at the same time. Preferably, two times a day. I prefer doing it once in the morning about ten minutes after I take my morning shower and then repeating the process at night about ten minutes before I go to sleep. If done twice a day during these previously specified time periods, you will go to bed at ease, and you will wake up and go to work calm and collective. This will lead to a productive work day. The positive results of meditation will be felt within days of beginning the process. For some it may only take a day or two. For me it took about a week. Most importantly, don’t give up!
4. Improving your new found skill: Once you get the basic idea down you should start trying to improve your posture and breathing technique. While breathing in an upright position with your back perfectly straight and perpendicular to the floor, imagine a feather on a table and imagine yourself breathing right in front of it. Your breath should be so gentle that the feather would typically not blow off the table if the situation was real, if the feather idea does not work for you, imagine a candle and breathe so lightly that you would not blow the candle out if it were positioned directly in front of your lips. Place the palms of your hand on your lower rib cage so that the tips of your fingers touch when you exhale. Once this basic breathing becomes improved, you may develop your own breathing ritual that best works for you; however, for now, try the basic technique we just discussed.
5. Thinking Positively. Some people do not believe this; however, what you think and how you portray yourself to your own being directly effects the way others view you. Humans have an uncanny ability to sense weakness and low self esteem. It all starts with you. If you love yourself people will love you too. Furthermore, if you think about positive, trained thoughts while you are meditating, most likely these thoughts will stay with you and improve your character, even when you are not meditating. Start by doing this: Think about ten things that you like about yourself, sit in from of a computer, and right them out. Next, make a print out and paste it on the wall near where you typically meditate. Read the ten positive character traits every day, then try to memorize and repeat them as you are meditating. At first this task will be difficult; however, after two weeks or so you will remember them to the point where you can repeat them over and over again while you are meditating, finally, once you have confidently memorized each trait, you can take the printout off the wall and acknowledge that these traits are one and the same as you. Repeat them every single day that you meditate. Repeat them softly and remember the above tips. You can now meditate and feel positive about your life. Congratulations!
Looking back, I know I would not be the same person that I am today had I not experienced the fortune of meeting Sally and becoming fully engrossed in the art of meditation. It has literally lifted my soul and my spirit has flourished ever since. I must say that I am a different person than I was even three years ago. The best thing about meditation is that just like anything else, practice makes perfect; however, the difference between meditation and most other things in life is this: When you become better at meditating, everything else in your life becomes easier and more fun. Meditation is a gateway into a better realm, a better you.