I have done traditional meditation for years. I visualize, I do focus exercises, I’m even now dabbling in transcendental meditation (it all makes me sound so deep). It’s an incredible experience. I come out calmer, centered, and more focused. It eases my physical pain. Meditation is a wonderful treatment for a variety of things that may be ailing you.
Back when I started meditating about 10 years ago, my favorite exercise was focusing on the sound of the fan. The noise, the patterns, the soothing way that it repeated. Everything else melted away, until it was just me and the fan as I floated off. Usually to sleep.
That was pre-cancer.
Now is post-chemo brain.
These days, my fan can’t crack the surface of my thoughts. It’s like a maelstrom in there, a hurricane of ideas, reminders, and unrelated facts that only seem to come to me when I am trying to forget them. Some days, I can’t sort through the debris. Sometimes I wonder why I want to. It’s a whole bunch of nothing. A pile of crap. Stuff I’ll forget in five minutes anyway.
But then I made a discovery. Pretty mind-blowing, actually. Something that has spun my meditation to a whole new level.
I almost hate to admit this. And I apologize to all the yogis out there who think that I am crazy. But I’m going to just come out and say it.
I may be the only person in the world who meditates to Metallica.
Yes, THAT Metallica.
I know others may listen to music while meditating. It may even be beautiful, uplifting, inspiring tunes. That doesn’t do it for me. I need noise to calm my thoughts. Loud, pounding, angry, head-banging kind of noise. Sort of like pouring ice-water on your brain kind of noise. Yes, it may hurt for a moment, but then comes the sweet relief. I only hear the sounds from the song, not the nagging of my mind. My head bobs in time to the beat. Maybe theres even some fist pumping, let’s not judge. My thoughts feel less disjointed, more associated.
And I get calm. I float off to another plane, if I can be so honest. They are putting into words what I am thinking. All the pain, the grief, the madness, the anger. Its all there, and the music helps me release it. It’s actually kind of incredible.
I still practice the same habits as before. I’m not completely shutting down my brain. But I am sitting back and letting the waves turn into eddies so that I can sort out what I need to. And I can turn off the music and feel the tranquility that has washed over me. It doesn’t matter what went on that day. Or what will happen tomorrow. Or in ten years. I am centered. I am whole.
And I have found what works for me.