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  • Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Pursuing Balance

In my last entry, I spoke about the book Eat Pray Love, reflecting upon the authors’ pursuits for pleasure, devotion and finally balance. Recently, I attended a meditation seminar, where you are asked to meditate for 10 hours each day in silence for a duration of 10 days.

Now some would ask, why? Why do something so severe, so drastic and so difficult? And yes, it is all those things. But sometimes the pendulum of life swings so far in one direction, that you need to do something to counter balance. And that is exactly what I did.

Waking up at 4 am in the morning to begin a day of meditation was enjoyable at first. It seemed almost movie-esque in nature. A large bell is rung and you slowly shuffle in the darkness and solace of predawn to the meditation hall where you sit perched trying to find a comfortable position to place yourself for the next 120 minutes. But the movie-esque quality fades fast when your joints are aching and your muscles burning, desperately pleading with you to move, to change position. Fighting is your body, but this battle will be nothing as to what goes on in your mind.

The first few days were so difficult, as your mind and body rebel against this new routine. Neither are used to sitting still, to sticking to a strict and rigorous schedule and it’s amazing what thoughts and insights come in that stillness.

In one of my meditations I actually visualized my mind like a rhino trying to break free. The rhino was in a confined area and was running, plowing through everything to free itself. I envisioned myself trying to headlock this great beast, but it was to no avail, as this animal was determined to get out!

But each day, you surrender a little more, you sink into the silence and at the end of my meditation I saw the rhino again, but this time I was hugging her…we had made friends.

Now, you may be asking balance…where is the balance in all this? And I agree completely. Where is balance when you have such an extreme experience? One week into my meditation I had a strong urge to go home, that I was finished for some reason. This wasn’t the plan, I was sure I would stay and finish the 10 days, but this wasn’t usual urging that you fight with at the front end of such an endeavor, this was my mind asking to go home, to be somewhere balanced. It had received what it needed and it was time to use it. So, I left and how happy I was when I arrived home to receive a message needing an urgent reply and immediate attention. I listened to my mind and it was good I did. I also had time to incorporate what I learned into real life. I have meditated everyday since. Not for hour intervals yet or waking at 4 am to do so, but it’s in me. Stillness is now a friend, creating a space to listen and through the experience I have remembered how important it is to try different things, to sit through discomfort knowing that it too shall pass but also being comfortable enough to say goodbye when something has served its purpose and is finished.

I wish for you all a time of balance in a busy world…however you find it, may it bring you peace.

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