I am grateful for the years of meditation, which have provided strength and comfort. I meditated before I even knew what it was called. I was a goofy child who took the word of adults literally, as do most children. I started Catholic school in 1962, before the Second Vatican Council, (1962-1965) that means the Masses were in Latin and my formative years were spent in a magical place, full of incense and a foreign magical language. The nuns told us to spend our time in Mass preparing our hearts for Jesus, who would arrive in the communion wafer. Me, being me, took this a concrete fact.
As soon as we sat in our seats I began imagining the room inside my heart. I dusted off the sins I’d collected during the week and baked cookies and made tea. As I walked back to my seat after the wafer was placed on my tongue, I welcomed Jesus into my little heart room. He was never the same, sometimes a child, other times an older kid or an adult. I’d love to remember the conversations but I’m sure they were about something mundane like the odd salamander under the rotting log we found.
I’d tried a few times to recreate these god-heart meditations but I’ve never been able to recreate that healing calm I had as a child. Now, my favorite meditation is a walk barefoot into a shady forest on a moss-covered path. I can feel the occasional hot sun on my head as it breaks through the trees. My feet feel the comfort of the thick moss and the cool occasional flat rock. The path always leads to an opening by a mountain lake. I can sit and enjoy the sun, eat the blueberries growing near the edge. But I always end the meditation by diving into the cold water. I do a backstroke and enjoy the sunlight and the sight of a bird soar high overhead. I can hear the cry of a hawk or eagle.
Once, I dove deep and felt a moment of panic that I might drown. The absurdity of this struck me as very funny, it was all of my own creation. So, I continued down and found amazing things. Old Druid gold offerings settled on the sandy bottom sparkling in the emerald green water. Tree limbs covered with green water plants created hiding places for little fish. I found sunken boats, recent and ancient craft resting on the craggy bottom.