There is the “buzz” of tea and the “buzz” of coffee. There is the “buzz” of beer and the “buzz” of wine and the altogether different and distinct “buzz” of liquor like tequila or bourbon or a good, dirty martini made with vodka or gin. There is the “buzz” of chocolate and the “buzz” of ice cream and all the other foods that might float one’s proverbial boat. There is the “buzz” of romance, the “buzz” of love, and even the “buzz” of lust – all three differ, yet they all “buzz” like a honey bee around the nectar of relationship.
But if we are going to consider the highs, we must also recognize the “buzz” of anger, the “buzz” of frustration and the “buzz” of disappointment – three different “buzzes” that can just as easily show up in the garden of relationship. Neither can we forget the “buzz” of that dullness that feels like a pulsing fog in the skull when one awakens after the splurge of those less redeeming indulgences of food and alcohol.
Some of these “buzzes” bring you up and some bring you down, but they all change your state. Let’s be honest here, isn’t that exactly what we want to accomplish when we are having our morning brew, buying our favorite item of clothing or the latest technology, eating that decadent and too-rich dessert, going for our run, grabbing our golf clubs and heading for the green, imbibing in that happy hour cocktail, or delighting in a salt bath? What floats your boat? Have you ever stopped long enough to take an inventory of your “state changers?”
Today as I sat in my meditation practice, I spent the first several minutes noticing the sounds of the humidifier in the room where I was sitting and the humm of the washing machine in the basement below me. Then I noticed the internal “buzz” of me. It wasn’t a thought that repeated over and over. It wasn’t the amplified pulse of a morning caffeine habit. It was truly just a generic feeling of me and the energetic pulse of my being. And for a little while, there was a curious competition for my attention. Wondering which would win, the external activities in my home or the evidence of my aliveness going on inside, I sat with precious attention.
Then came my mantra. The simple, welcome, soothing repetition of my sound. This has been my sound since, well… since someone gave it to me almost 30 years ago. My initiation into Transcendental Meditation (affectionately called T.M. by people all over the world) was the defining moment when Helen Hamilton told me my secret sound. And from that day onward, I would mentally repeat that sound to myself as a means to change my state.
Way back then, in 1990, as a 28 year old, upwardly mobile professional working in midtown Manhattan at a very large Wall Street broker dealer, I was very much enjoying the life of working hard, making money and spending that money on dinners and weekend getaways and nice clothing. I wasn’t intending to do anything more than enjoy my new husband and my new life and plan for our future – which was going to be a good future, I was sure. We just had this one little glitch and we were both committed to getting it resolved and moving along with our plans.
Meditation, it was suggested by my then husband’s then psychotherapist, would be a useful tool in his toolkit to manage his anxiety. It would also be a great adjunct to the Tantric practices he introduced us to through a book he recommended that I can clearly picture, but can no longer recall by title. This book would give us tools to inform and rehabilitate our faltering sex life. That was what we really wanted! Changing state was not even a blip on my radar. I just wanted to heal my sexual wounds and get to the good stuff in my marriage. I would join my husband in his adventure to learn to meditate if there was a chance that it could be the answer.
Helen Hamilton, bless her soul, was a curious little lady. I remember her as small and thin and gray. Gray, as in the color. She was the kind of person who I considered sweet and kind, but odd. She didn’t say much. She burped often. In fact her burps were a source of humor for both me and my husband and we still, to this day, can easily be brought to giggle about her belching at every meeting we had with her. It was like she was always regurgitating something. Some long time later, I wondered if what she was regurgitating was actually whatever energy he and I were bringing in to her sanctuary. The only thing I can recall her saying consistently was: “It’s good? It’s easy?” And “yes” was always our answer. Of course, we still giggle about these two questions as well. Some children never totally grow up!
But today, as I sat quietly in the noisy environments of my home and my body, mentally repeating the word/sound given to me by Helen, I felt the very familiar feeling that comes when I sit to meditate. There is a moment where a division between the noise and the silence reveals itself. At this moment, time seems to teeter as if looking for its balance. If I catch that moment, I can marvel at the threshold where emptiness and fullness divide. It is like the pulling back of the ocean to reveal the sandy earth underneath as the water stacks itself on itself in a singular moment that appears as an arcing, moving wall of water. For that moment, time exists as only the length of the space between the in-breath and the out-breath of awe that fills the moment of appreciating nature’s precision. At one impeccable moment, the moving wall of water will give away it’s perfect stillness to become a wave soon to crash on the perfect smoothness of the earth revealed beneath as will I teeter over and land deeper in the abyss of meditation.
About the Author:
Madelana Ferrara is a teacher of Yoga and a student and practitioner of its related disciplines of Meditation and Ayurveda.