In the movie Eat, Pray, Love, journalist Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) visits an ashram in India. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of a mosquito-plagued room, the would-be seeker finds her head abuzz with distracting thoughts. After what seems an eternity, a tiny digital clock’s numerals flip, indicating that only 2 minutes have actually passed. She wryly exclaims, “Oh my God, kill me now!”

I used to see meditation that way. I felt like a dabbler, caught in a boring pastime whose purpose eluded me. Today, I view meditation as a pleasant sanctuary and a staple of spiritual survival.

Through daily meditation, we can connect with our guides, communicate with the Great Spirit, and attain realizations:

  • Connect with the Guides — Spirit helpers, guides and angelic messengers are right above our shoulders, ready to help with our requests. We can state our requests through prayer, or simply talk with them. In a meditative state, the ego is forced to stand aside temporarily, long enough to allow the guides to permeate our thoughts and answer us directly.
  • Communicate with the Great Spirit — By whatever name we call the Creative Intelligence that Drives the Universe — God, the Great Spirit, Great Holiness — we can talk to that Energy directly. People have written about Native ceremonies like the Sweatlodge or the Sundance, referring to the Medicine Man as an “intercessor,” without whose “intervention” we could not contact the spirits or receive visions. Both Cedric Red Feather and I, through our own individual experiences, have come to know that we do not need an intermediary to pray to God. Cedric calls this aspect of his spiritual teachings, “Eliminate the Middle Man.”
  • Attain realizations — Sometimes in meditation I remain lucid while in an ultra-relaxed state. Deep breathing helps get me there. I take three long, deep breaths, in which the in-breath and out-breath are of equal length. I sit in a comfortable chair and concentrate on an issue or question. Soon thereafter, I experience a kind of clairsentience. Resolution emerges in the form of clarity about what was perceived earlier as a problem. When you ask with a sincere heart and give the guides permission to help in advance, the compassionate ones will oblige with an answer.

Meditating regularly has other benefits. From the practice of inhaling and exhaling deeply to signal the start of meditation, I gain more conscious awareness of the breath. This carries over to my becoming conscious of the breath while sitting, walking or falling asleep. When my breathing changes, an auto-alert lets me know an adjustment is needed to allow continuation of the flow of oxygen and energy.

Another benefit is that the grandfathers, guides, spirit helpers and angels now seem closer to me in waking existence. I feel so much more open to listening and watching for signs and symbols. I’ve learned to pay attention to all that surrounds me. Messages appear amid the letters and numbers of license plates. Wind garners my attention by shifting its voice suddenly. Ravens and crows caw incessantly, compelling my attention.

Meditation renders the ordinary extraordinary. People in stores blurt remarks that seem to reveal hidden truths. Cedric has his own practice involving fortune cookies. He holds an unwrapped cookie in his hand. He then asks a specific question, pauses deliberatively, and opens the cookie — only to smile and read aloud some message that seems uniquely crafted to his concern. So it is that, through an expanded awareness of everyday signs, we enhance our connection with Spirit to a degree my dad would proudly decry, “From your mouth to God’s ear.”

Meditation opens chakras and channels. An alignment and rebalancing occurs effortlessly during deep meditation. This is because, from a state in which ego is derailed and distracted, we are able to align with the higher energies of love and light. A higher vibrational frequency attends the spinning wheels of our human energy centers.

Already, some schools are introducing elementary students to gentle meditation practice. Someday, perhaps, the practice will find favor with all layers of society; and at that time, we may experience facilitation of the public’s journey toward highest enlightenment.

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Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.

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