Our First Morning Meditation

            When I opened my eyes, I saw the hands of Mukeshji resting on his knees. He sat crisscrossed in the dappled sunlight, his head supported by a long pillow propped up horizontally against his wooden chair. The creases in his white clothing rippled as a soft breeze swept past my face. I glanced around, momentarily distracted from my first meditation session at ESI. I stared at the base of a tree in the center of our circle. Between some small shrubs, I saw a green sprout. Its skinny stem poked through the dry dirt, while the slightly crooked tree provided shade. I blinked with content as my mind wandered off into empty space. I closed my eyes once more. Dissonant bird calls sounded over each other, creating a natural chaos that sounded both musical and exotic. A particular call stood out among the others, sounding a bit like a cat’s meow but also like a small child’s voice. As I sat and wondered about the source of the sound, Mukeshji’s voice floated into my mind. Latching onto his quiet voice, my mind found guidance in his words: “Peaceful mind, peaceful mind.”

            My wandering mind eventually reached a place of temporary peace. After completing the meditation, everyone said one word about how we felt. I said, “Round,” but I also felt peaceful and subdued. The sense of roundness came from the movement of my breath going in and out. I admit that I had been skeptical of meditation before that morning. Or maybe rather than skepticism, my feeling towards meditation was a mix of some fear and a little scoff coming from my ego. I had been hesitant, because I had not been raised in an environment that emphasized inner self and heart. The feeling of spirituality struck me. The accepting and positive spirit of Mukeshji overwhelmed me. Despite my initial feelings, I think that I have slowly begun to understand that spirituality does not always have to be affiliated with religion, as I had assumed. Maybe through practices of love and patience, I will be able to search for my own meaning of spirituality.