The first time I ever felt a presence of something greater than I could fathom within me, something that I could not understand, had not pursued, nor had I taken more than statistical analyst of its truth, was my freshman year of high school…
It was a time when all the worldly connections I had made had turned quite a leaf. I grew confidence and self-worth out of spending my time, energy, and thoughts about and around my friends. Worldly connections, for me, haven’t ever been stable or long-lived. They disappear like the keys to someone’s car when one has an important appointment they were already running late for.
I sat through depression for about a solid year. It only grew as time went on: time, was one of its major powers.
“Why can I not get over this still? How weak am I to cry every fucking day for so long. Will the relief never come?”
I started looking for solutions outside of my head. Self-harm became an intriguingly deserved punishment. Drinking slowly became an undeniable procrastination. The first party I was caught at, my 13 year old body was so wasted that I told my dad about my suicidal thoughts. When the morning came around, I decided to get honest with him. I decided, maybe, someone can help me out of this. I told him,
“I’m sorry for last night, but those thoughts were real, and I have been struggling with them for some time.”
The following drive back to my mom’s house was quiet except for a few scapegoats my father tried to allude to. I couldn’t even respond with an adequate facade like I normally could. I felt like quicksand from the inside out, revealing my feelings to a seemingly unconcerned confidant only enhanced my singularly aimed frustration and misery. I sat in a hot nasty stew that I had made for myself for many months. As time continued, I began to create lost and disturbing art. Somehow, it relieved some of the pain. Almost immediately, the depression stopped accumulating and I was finally at equilibrium: not getting better, but no longer sinking deeper.
I sat in my driveway, under the stars, pondering about myself some weeks later.
“I will be with me for the rest of my life. I need to learn to love all of this self.”
I felt an uplifting sensation wash over me and I began, what later I would describe as, meditation. It felt as though love, strength and all the answers I needed to push myself were just opened somewhere inside of me. It was my God. My God resides in me as he does in everyone, I believe.
Today, I can summarize that meditation came easily for me, because I had such disgust with all my previous, overplayed thoughts. I wanted nothing more than to enter a new mindset and, at the time, I understood that I was incapable of doing that. I just needed to shut up and accept my powerlessness. I had no expectations and no goals. Everything left me, for I barely had anything still there. Eventually, I found meditative thinking was harder to do on command, and some days I still don’t achieve the level of peace I desire.
I used substances eventually and it took me 4 years to get back to that place before, when I had a huge problem I couldn’t solve (which usually meant emotional crisis). Practice has helped. It has aided me in learning the How’s, Why’s, Where’s, and When’s that my body favors. Not the What’s though, that, I think, will never be discovered.
The “What?” in God, the “What” in beauty, love, truth, and meditation: all irrelevant questions that divert from the root of their concepts in my head. I have learned I am optimal at meditation when I change what can be changed, which is everything in my physical environment (i.e. the lighting, the sent, the white noise), then in my thoughts, I begin to focus on my senses. I begin to slowly lose them one by one: First, current sight, next, physical feelings, then, hearing, lastly, smelling. It gets me thinking about something that is just about as close to nothing as I can mentally think about with control.
On a good day, my mind begins to drift and I will sit until I feel overwhelmingly satisfied. On a difficult day, I sit for as long as possible and let the invincible thoughts flow with freedom, aiming to be a mere median for these thoughts (not an observer or a participant, just a platform). I’ll focus on simplicity. Nothing bad has ever happened by me giving an honest inventory of the root of things.
As oxymoronic as it may sound, I believe too many people over-think meditation. You don’t have to be able to sit for two hours mimicking a pretzel and become entirely enlightened to call it meditation; my definition is loose and purely encompasses a duration of low-involved thought organization. Sometimes, it’s more controlled than others, but patience is a cornerstone of my serenity. ©