Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Heartfulness Meditation

I went to the Maitland Public Library (501 S. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL) to "learn simple techniques that improve wellness of being." This Heartfulness Meditation happens every second and fourth Monday of every month, 6-8 p.m.  I have attended group meditations before which consisted of 45 minutes of silent meditation, followed by a group discussion. I focused on the blankets on the floor thinking people would be sitting there as they meditated. I was wrong: they sat classroom-style in rows of tables and chairs outside the sketch's composition.

Only one person was in the room when I first entered. She had bright blue hair and confided that this was her first time meditating here. She had tried YouTube meditation videos and was afraid that the PC hooked up to the TV meant more of the same. The mediator for the session was a young Indian fellow whose name I never caught.

For most of November I had to spar with a friend who I feared would be a delinquent client. My head was spinning, wondering what I could have done differently to preserve the friendship. The damage was done. My instructor seemed to sense this and he began by talking about someone who is obsessed with a fight. He had a nervous laugh that reminded me of a nephew of mine. With thoughts of the fight in mind, a person is already on guard, prepared for another fight. He offered us a guided cleaning. He used the metaphor of a dirty home. Sometimes cleaning just moves the dirt around. He equated a meditated cleaning to be like opening all the windows and doors to air out the space. The weather is finally cool enough to allow for that. My mind definitely needs to be aired out.

The goal of his meditation session was to clear the heart space. He wanted us to imagine a source of light within which has no luminosity or radiance. Light is the most subtle thing to meditate on. When we imagine a light without illumination, it puts the mind on the edge of an inner dimension where we don't deal with thoughts but build heartfulness based on silence. He dimmed the lights to the room and everyone closed their eyes. I, of course, sketched, searching for the light in the dark room. Halfway into the sketch I realized everyone had taken their shoes off. Darn it, I couldn't even get that unspoken cue right. The brush sounded insanely loud on the page, so I slowed down my painting to try and stay silent. I doubt I succeeded.

After the cleaning, we proceeded to a silent meditation which lasted perhaps half an hour. The goal was to stop chasing impressions and thoughts. To live life calmly. Our thoughts derive their power from our attention. Thoughts are like a river or clouds in the sky: when we feel them coming, then we have to let them go. Will power must be used to remove impressions. The will needs to be precise and firm. There were four others seated on folding chairs in the room. One left early and the woman with the blue hair left during silent meditation. Heather confided afterwards that meditation cultivated negative feelings in her mind. Her results were the opposite of what was hoped for. He let her know that this session had been short, and with regular daily practice she could achieve the heartfulness that would allow a life of being balanced and poised.

With the sketch complete I lowered my head and relaxed. A minute later the session was over. I'm hoping that sketching gives the heartfulness he was talking about. My thoughts were limited to lighter, darker, larger, smaller. My inner dialogue about conflict had no room to grow. My heart stopped pounding in my ears. A truce meant a hope for peace.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: