The REAL Purpose of Meditation – To Be Able to Call Upon an Almost Mythical Calm and Poise in the Midst of Raging Storm All Around You. My own personal story recounted from tonight.

You know that you are becoming more centered when the following happens to you and you quickly gather your things up and go on your way as if nothing crazy occurred:

I was riding home tonight on my bicycle, listening to my MP3 player, nice gloves on, and a leather jacket; my usual satchel slung across one shoulder and riding along my right hip.  I had a grocery bag of stuff (a black t-shirt, a pair of white socks, a bagel with cream cheese in a plastic baggie, and a 24-oz bottle of spring water *un-opened*).  It was swinging from my right handlebar, as I was singing to one of the songs on my MP3 player…maybe Chicago’s “Look Away”, when a very strange and sudden series of events pulled me out of my goofy bliss.

The front tire locked up, and I rose up in the air, powerless to stop from being smashed down to the pavement of the parking lot of this liquor store, nor from sliding across the gravel on my palms and the meat of the underside of my forearms.  Luckily, I had several layers of jackets covering those arms, and thick gloves.  As all this was happening, I could feel that the front wheel was torquing around to the side and becoming inverted, which was causing the bike to kick out to the side, pulling my feet one way, and my head, the other.  Part of me was calmly observing this, and commenting, “Oh, that’s interesting…but I wonder why the front tire stopped in the first place? – Did I hit a rock?  I didn’t FEEL a rock.  Couldn’t have been a rock, then…”…this inane, insanely calm voice in my head just kept going on and on, as if it were merely watching a fascinating movie.  The other part of me was far less collected -“Oh shit, Oh SHIT, what do I do?  Slam on the brakes?  Cover my face?  My hands are still on the handlebars!  What if I break my neck? Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!….”

How it’s possible for a person to have two conversations going on in their head, simultaneously in such circumstances, is beyond me; but there I was, and then there I was, plastered on the ground, probably all of three seconds later.

What’s amazing, is how after about 5-10 seconds, after initially thinking the worst, my mind immediately bounced back, surveyed the damage – no broken bones, some scrapes, but nothing too severe, and the bike seemed ok.  When I got up, the MP3 player had slipped from my pocket and was lit up while dangling near the ground, being supported just by the strength of the ear buds still crammed in my ears and the slender cables attached to them.  I carefully put that MP3 player back in my pocket – a different song was playing now, “Big Baller, Shot Caller”, and I was jamming out to the lyrics and dancing a bit as I gathered my stuff together.

The plastic bag was completely torn to shreds and I immediately spotted the culprit….those pair of socks had somehow wedged themselves on either side of the brakes on my front tire.  The bag must have swung forward, got sucked in and then the socks must have gotten grabbed by the forward-moving tire, and then the two together, become like brakes, themselves, when those socks pinched down between the top of the fork and the tire.

I noticed that it only took me about 7 seconds to come up with a solution as to how to carry the rest of my stuff back home:  I snatched the t-shirt, stuffed the rest of those things in between the layers of fabric, (front and back of shirt) like a pocket; then tied the short sleeves twice…in an overhand knot; then an underhand one, in order to tie them securely.  I wrapped the bottom of the shirt around my hand and let it dangle down off of my right handlebar – this time, though, making sure that it didn’t swing into the path of the tire.

What’s really amazing here, is that this is real-world evidence that my mediation practice has practical benefits when it comes to staying calm and centered in the middle of an unexpected crisis.  Now different people may have varying notions as to what a crisis means to them; but for me, it was a sudden, very dangerous problem that created another issue immediately afterward; and I feel that I handled it with a tremendous amount of grace and clear thinking, all things considered.

To me…this is the TRUE power of meditation…giving you space to stay calm and in control of your emotions and thoughts, even when faced with the unexpected and the frightening, and possibly traumatic.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD from both childhood stuff, and from a stint in the United States Marines, as well as, about 5 years living on the streets through each winter.  This single event – (the abrupt being thrown from my bike right after I had been nestled warmly in thoughts of easy safety and security) – should have triggered my PTSD; and possibly even should have turned me into a basket case; yet it did not.

Often times when people meditate, they cannot detect the transformation occurring within themselves.  They may think that nothing is happening and that this meditation business is a complete waste of time.  But if they would stick with it – then, in time they would learn that it might be one of the single most effective methods of reversing lifelong behavior patterns and harmful ways of reacting, and all the extra emotional baggage that comes with going through an ordeal.

My first exposure to meditation was when Master Lenchus, in our Shotokan Karate class, had us kneel, and bow our heads down until our foreheads touched the floor, and close our eyes while he prayed something in reverence to the four elements, Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.  This seemed a very odd thing to do, but it’s what I remember.  When I was younger, I couldn’t figure out why he would make such a fuss about this particular practice.  I mean, I was here to learn how to fight, right?  How the heck was closing my eyes and breathing in and out and not moving a muscle gonna keep me from getting my ass kicked in high school?  I just didn’t get it.  And I wouldn’t….for years to come.  But what Master Lenchus taught us by example in that dojo, planted a seed in my young heart, and a question in my young mind….”What’s all this meditation stuff really about?”

Over a period of years and years, I kept coming back to that one question over and over again, until, one day, I decided to try it.  And even though, in the beginning, I started and stopped and started, and kept up that pattern for years – I eventually gained the self-discipline to stick with the practice and, today, it is an integral part of almost every day for me.

Today, I have a very deep and meaningful meditation, which helps relax my body and mind, re-energize my spirit and heart, and bring great focus and clarity to my goals in life.  But the most miraculous thing I can say that this meditation practice has given me, is a re-wiring of the neural pathways in my brain and my body, and a short-circuit of the past fight-or-flight reactionary impulses which have consistently led to doing the wrong thing and bringing strife and misery into my life over and over again.

I feel that I have gained great understanding, wisdom, discernment, empathy and a sense of detached non-judgment of others.

And so it is with great gratitude, I say this:

“Thank you, Master Lenchus, for taking the time each and every day that we went to that dojo – and instructing us to slow down, be silent, and be still, in order to show us how to meditate.  You showed by example and by consistency, that this was very important to you, and should be for us.  I don’t know where I would be, or what kind of man I might have become, had I not met you.”

David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Nate – street name
~KnavetheMage on Twitter
~ZenNinja
~Nate Love
~Dreamweaver
WordPress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi
Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO
Sunday, December 22, 2013 – 22:38

 

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“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

I have often thought that the concept of the rate of growth and desire to speed up that growth, could be best illustrated by the analogy of a tiny man or woman in, and at the bottom, of a jar when they are born.

 

Below, I will attempt to examine this further:

 

The jar is a metaphor for the set of conditions and circumstances we are born into.  The bottom represents the time and place of our entering this world.  The small person represents us, as we learn and grow and apply what we know and have learned.  The sand or clay represents challenges and opportunities presented to us on a daily or even more frequent basis.  The stones simply represent bigger opportunities or challenges.  The lip of the jar represents the point in time when we are able to get past our set of circumstances, thought patterns, or habits.  The outside of the jar represents the rest of the Universe or almost limitless possibilities waiting for us to grasp once we learn certain lessons and achieve certain applied skills.

So, imagine a man trying to get out of a jar; but the only tools he is given is that of gradual grains of sand or clay being dropped into the jar from above.  One would think that it would be much faster if you put a bunch of stones in instead, as stepping stones.  That is the solution that seems to come to mind quickest, once we become impatient for things to change in our lives.

 

In order to do that, though, we have to build from the bottom – up.  We have to create with what we were originally given.  Take a poker player for a moment – the best ones, I’ve been told, are not necessarily the ones with the best hands; but the ones with the best strategy and know how to read people and circumstances and to even bluff at times.

 

I know that I’m mixing metaphors, here, but if you stay with me for a bit more, where we’re headed may become more clear…

 

So, there you are: a tiny man or woman, at the very bottom of the jar (at birth).  Life begins tossing in grains of sand or grains of clay.  If big boulders dropped on us, they could instantly kill us.  Now, imagine that we can let this stuff continue to fall on our heads, and bury us alive; or we can somehow make room and step on those grains,(skillfully spread around and stacked upon one another), once they make it to the bottom of the jar.  We begin to do this, and soon, we are standing on a nice foundation that we’ve even managed to smooth out.

 

Now, let’s say that as time goes on, we decide that we’re no longer satisfied with these itty-bitty grains of clay and want to move faster in our life; so we beg for huge boulders again.  Besides, getting smashed in the head, what happens if we have actually been able to build with these boulders or stones and now are leaping merrily up the mountain?  What happens if we miss-step and fall all the way back down to where the sand or clay is?  – We get battered and bruised along the way down.  We may even die while smashing from rock to rock, until we finally cease our descent.

 

Yet, we haven’t discussed the other dynamic going on, here.  Eventually that little person grows into a bigger person, stronger mind, will, imagination, knowledge base, and sets of skills.  If we take this into account, as well, then, we see that our rate of success can merge almost seamlessly with our rate of growth.  And when I speak of growth; I’m not just referring to going from a child to an adult; but am including the things I mentioned above, as well.  Eventually, when you’ve gotten big enough, you will be too large to fall into the cracks of those stones.  In essence, your person or soul or life power/personal power will be big enough so that you will actually NEED larger sized grains of sand/clay; or even stones.

 

1)  Please leave a comment or tell your story, or just give an example from your own life, if this resonates with you.  All are welcome!

2)  AND – if you know how to get rid of the annoying hidden characters which keep showing up at the top of my blog, from Microsoft WORD – help!

 

And thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

 

David Lee Madison, Jr.

~Nate – street name ,

~KnavetheMage on Twitter

 ~ZenNinja

~Nate Love

~Dreamweaver

WordPress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi

Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO

Saturday, December 7, 20139:32