As I patiently waited for over one year on a waiting list for meditation classes that the hospital had selected for me, I wondered, “Is it going to be worth the wait? Will I finally be rid of chronic pain?”
Week after week I attended meditation classes run by doctors along with other patients with very serious illnesses, such as sickle-cell disease and Multiple Sclerosis. We “meditated” at the end of each class and everyone seemed to gain something from it, except for me. I put so much effort into the teachings, methods and audiotapes —even at home, alone in my dark room without interruptions — but still nothing.
Eventually I stopped attending the classes and found myself back at the drawing board where I’d been stuck for years. A few months later I packed for a trip to the cottage. I threw my meditation book in my suitcase just in case I had some time to kill between the swimming and canoeing.
This wasn’t just any cottage. It’s is in the middle of the woods, nowhere near civilization, no water, phones, reception for phones and no plumbing. It’s truly the wilderness. One morning I woke up as the sun rose and I took my book to the water’s edge. All I could hear was the water and a few loons calling in the distance. As I read my book, I tried to meditate. To my amazement, it worked! I fell deep into meditation and finally experienced what everyone else had been boasting about. It was magical to me. It happened so easily and quickly, almost effortlessly.
I realized that the difference between the numerous attempts at meditating and actually achieving meditation was unplugging. I felt grounded physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It wasn’t just the lack of technology. It wasn’t just the freedom from emails, phones and television. It was being with nature. It was the trees, the lakes, the wildlife.
It’s an immeasurable gift to have the ability to connect with yourself and with nature and to leave technology behind, even if it’s just for a few days.