I just got back from NYC where I did a couple of meditations in public surroundings.
One was in a busy coffee shop. There was so much noise it was unbelievable. Many languages all around me, construction outside, traffic, horns, and just a lot of chaos and noise.
I knew this was going to be good…
I set my timer for the 5 Minute Meditation and closed my eyes.
Always when I start a meditation in public, I make sure that I am in a safe situation and that my belonging are secure. And that first moment or two when I close my eyes it is awkward. Although I was quite visible, the nice thing about New York is that no one really cares what you are doing.
And I start to settle in.
Immediately I notice the different languages.
Gently the words themselves begin to fade, and it is the cadences of the voices that filter through.
The blaring horns and machinery sound distant even though I know they are only a few feet away. After a surprisingly short amount of time, the noises settle into an indistinguishable pattern.
At this point, my mind travels to my self consciousness – is any one staring at me? don’t worry, no one cares, is any one staring at me? don’t worry, no one is bothering. Back and forth a few times. Let it go.
And then it happens.
I see it, I feel it, I sense it:
Briefly, I find stillness.
Everything is completely quiet and I can hear nothing else. There is no noise, no distraction, nothing at all.
Pretty quickly it is jarred, but I want it back so I try again.
I reach out in my mind trying to grab onto it.
Hahaha – trying to grab stillness!
So I think of it like a dove. I’ve been told you must hold a dove carefully with firmness but not tightly. Hold it so that it cannot fly off, but gently so as to not squeeze it.
I imagine that moment of stillness is like a dove in my hand and return to it carefully with focus and gentleness and there it is again.
Another moment of stillness. Deep inside me.
When I am at home in my meditation space and this stillness comes to me, it sometimes completely envelops me with warmth and calm.
In the NYC coffee shop, it didn’t happen quite like that!
But none the less, it was there and everything else disappeared.
All of this is happening within the 5 minutes, but in meditation the passage of time is different. What is only few minutes can seem like an eternity. Both in it’s best and most difficult sense.
Again, I am jarred out of my stillness, but is is OK. I just continue to sit quietly with my eyes closed and am enjoying the experience.
The timer beeps softly and I open my eyes taking in the scene again. Everything is full color, full volume. Close next to me is a man who appears agitated by my meditation. He glares at me, but I cannot help but smile back at him. He visibly relaxes and then goes about his business.
And I too get on with my day.
I am glad I gave it a try.