Meditation in the Nilgiris

I have never been really good at meditation. The minute I am told to “let go”, “don’t think”, my mind starts making laundry lists of things to do. A few decades ago I bought guiding tapes and recently downloaded apps, but I have never been carefully taught nor guided. I have always been intrigued but never able to “disconnect”.

A few months ago, when our life got turned upside down and my depression kicked into high gear, I decided to do put all the chances on my side to beat it. I had a few noteworthy appointments with several psychiatrists and religiously take my pill every day. But I knew it wouldn’t be enough this time, so I ventured into non-Western medicine. My “Reiki Sister” gave me the name of her therapist, who had recently moved from the bustling city of New Delhi into a village half way between Ooty and Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. It is hidden in the beautiful hills that produce Nilgiri tea.  I spoke to her on the phone and liked her voice, liked the questions she asked, liked the way she was approaching my “problem”. After a 30-minute conversation with her, I already felt calmer. I booked a three-day intensive therapy retreat.

The road from Combaitore to her village reminded me of the road from Salanches to Megève in France. Hairpin turns, a deep ravine on one side, and waterfalls on the other. Add to the geographical hazards some monkeys, and a bunch of nuts-suicidal-crazy-homicidal-dangerous drivers who have no notion nor intention of staying in their lane. Honking is used as a defense mechanism against your own stupidity, advertising to the world that you are doing something illegal and potentially lethal to you, or worse, others.

The first day of therapy used unconventional techniques that I mastered on the spot. On the second day of therapy, she used singing bowls. They looked beautiful, golden color, simple shapes, very exotic. Honestly, I was hoping for a miracle, I wanted those bowls to have some kind of magic that would transport me into the enchanted land of bliss. She instructed me to close my eyes, and walked around me while making the bowls sing.

Ommm.  Stop thinking. Don’t think. Concentrate on the sound. Let the sound go inside you. Ommmmm. Silence in my brain. Good. It works. I wonder where she got those bowls. Stop thinking. She has cool Tibetan art in her house. Maybe somebody famous gave them to her. Stop, it doesn’t matter, you’re here to meditate, not for an art class. Ommm. Ommm. Tibet. That would be a cool place to go to. Stop. Ommm. The Dalai Lama is a funny guy. Stop. And he’s friends with Richard Gere. Awwww Richard Gere. Meditation fail!

I felt bad. I had come all this way to learn to calm down and I was not able to. She was disappointed she couldn’t guide me to fully meditate and taught me walking meditation, a more suitable method for busy brains, or “monkey brain” as she calls it (when your mind jumps from one thought to the other, like a monkey jumping around in the forest). She taught me to be kind to myself if I couldn’t manage to channel my thoughts into a quiet place.

Ommm. I am walking behind her, she’s walking rhythmically. Her hair is so long and beautiful. Indian women have beautiful hair. Stop, you’re not here to think about hair. Ommmm. Feel the grass between your toes. The grass is so soft, not like Texas. I miss Texas. Stop. Omm. I feel little twigs breaking. If I am breaking twigs, I wonder how many bugs I am killing. Bugs. She mentioned snakes. I hope I don’t see a snake. Ayaaaa! Darn, another meditation fail.

I am still not good at meditation. I need to practice more. I have also become a Reiki practitioner and use all possible methods to get through the day.

Don’t worry, I have not joined a cult, I am not following a self-proclaimed guru, don’t intend to disappear into an ashram at the base of the Himalayas. What I have learned is to be more grounded, less frazzled, less worried.

But I have also learned about the power of energies, and Karma. And she’s a bitch.



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2 Responses to Meditation in the Nilgiris

  1. You are such a beautiful writer!

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