Day 27 – desert ocean meditation

We are at the top of a hill looking down at a wave that I’m not allowed to write about due to surfers’ censorship. I am wondering around the cliff top looking at pieces of quartz when I get this feeling in my gut. I have to sit down on a rock and meditate.
So I do.

I look at the ocean and stare at the calm blue water. From up this high I can’t see the breaking waves. I’m sitting in the desert staring at beautiful ocean. My mind clears up and becomes as bare as the desert as I focus on the constant movement of the water. The wind blows gently and the sun is warming my skin but not burning it.

I sit for only 15 minutes at the most because I can feel the boys waiting. They have collected firewood and are standing around, grunting impatiently. As we come back down to camp, I start to place a pile of rocks in a circle for the fire while the boys stack up the dry trees. I become entranced with making this fire circle as the car radio plays some earthy African music and I still feel like I’m meditating. I remember one of my teachers, Twee, saying, “make every moment sacred.”
This moment feels sacred. After I meditate, every moment feels sacred.
I keep staring at the desert. It seems to hold some kind of magic. Well, nature holds magic in it. This week of camping will be an exploration of outdoors style meditations, focusing on the beauty of nature.

Day 25 – inner temple meditation

Driving down to Baja California, Mexico. We woke up late and had to rush through packing the car and picking up some last minute quinoa. As we were getting set up, a surf movie called Drive Thru New Zealand was on tv. One of the surfers described the worst of the road trip, “you’re sitting there with some guy talking in your face and loud music you don’t like… I don’t meditate but I had no other choice.”
As soon as I’m in the car I understand. We won’t arrive at the Baja Cactus motel until late this evening anyway so meditating in the car sounds like a good idea.

I put my earphones in and try not to hear the radio personalities yelling profanities at each other. Quickly, I find myself walking into my favourite meditation. It is a visualisation i came up with alone and i use it when I know I need it the most. I begin by visualising a dirt path. It goes up a hill that faces the ocean. The hill drops off as a cliff face and the very top of the hill is layered in a fine mist. As I ascend, each element of the visualisation represents a chakra. The dirt path and soft green grass is my root chakra, the water of the ocean is the sacral chakra, the shining sun is the solar plexus chakra. The place I am walking to, halfway up the hill, my inner temple, is my heart chakra. It is the centre of myself, where my higher self, my atman, true self, resides. The smells of the flowers and sound of music represent my throat chakra, the warm wind is my third eye and the soft white mist is my crown chakra.

As I ascend to the temple, I notice the smell of the flowers, the gentle warm wind and the feeling of home returns. I find my higher self waiting in the temple as always and a feeling of unconditional love comes over me. I stay in this temple for as long as I can before moving to the top of the hill and standing in the light of the mist. When I am ready to leave, I thank this space and each element of it as I descend the hill back down the dirt path.

At the bottom I take a few deep breaths, gently move my fingers and toes and bring awareness back to where i am in the car. The rap music is still loud and I open my eyes to find myself still completely absorbed by a feeling of ecstasy. I haven’t ever felt this so strong before. It is like pure energy is resonating around my heart. I’m almost floating from this feeling of pure bliss. I need to ground myself a little or I may be shocked back into this real world I am surrounded by of rap music, surfers and military territory as we drive further south. I take some moisturiser out of my bag and rub my feet, gently massaging the soles and cracking my toes. I stare out the window at the rolling California country, the hovering vultures and the distant coastline.

We stop in San Clemente to buy a surfboard so I get out of the car while the boys are in the shop. I still feel like I need to put my feet on solid ground or else i might float away but i still feel so blissed out. I take a walk towards the beach and back to the car where I climb a tree. I sit in it and feel myself come back down to the earth. I’m still feeling really good but the intensity has passed so I feel ready to re emerge into the world.

After a week of grounding meditation, I have come to realise the importance of this simple practise. Especially when working with meditations that bring you into the upper chakras or work with ascension, it is necessary to practice grounding. I am starting to think that it should prelude and conclude any meditation practice and should probably happen daily. When working spiritually, I notice that I become more sensitive to negativity and when I am not grounded I can get a little airy. It becomes harder for me to deal with emotional ups and downs and the world seems to take on a certain sharpness. Staying grounded is really important in order to be able to follow a spiritual path and yet still live in the real world and amongst other people.

Note: I held back from describing my inner temple or this inner place as it is a sacred home and I believe it should be unique to each person. For someone else, there may be no ocean, but there may be water in some other form or there may be no hill at all but a house with stairs. There may be some other symbol for root chakra like trees, or stars instead of wind or mist or there may be coloured levels instead. Either way, there is an ascension as you move up through the chakras to open them and a descending as you close them on the way back down to end meditation. Choose a setting that resonates with you, make it entirely your own and know that whenever you come to this sacred inner space at the centre of yourself, you can find your true essence.