Meditation As Spiritual Dark Chocolate: A Million Different Things: Morning–Meditation #4

Meditation Like Spiritual Dark Chocolate continues the free serialization from the 3rd Edition of my book, A Million Different Things: Meditations of the World’s Happiest Man. as Meditation #4 from the opening section, Morning.

An index to the serialization, including all links in sequence, can be accessed here: Gift of A Million Different Things.

David Stone, Writer

Meditation: Learning to Find the Spiritual Dark Chocolate

I listened to Wayne Dyertalk about meditation and decided it was worth taking a spin.

Sit in a comfortable chair and listen to your breathing. About as difficult as falling off a log, and what could be easier?

A few years later, meditation is like a daily treat of spiritual dark chocolate for me, deliciously self-indulgent and endlessly healthy. I never got into Wayne Dyer’s more advanced meditations because uncomplicated always suited me and it was so cozy and pleasant, every morning, alone with inner peace while the sun filled in the day.

White, Dark and Milk Chocolate Pieces
White, Dark and Milk Chocolate Pieces
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I’ve never taken a training class or meditated with a group. So, one early morning, I eased into our big, blue chair, cats looking at me expectantly, stretching my legs across the hassock in front of me.

I listened to my breathing, the simplest and most widely practiced meditation technique in the world.

Like starting any new thing, I fumbled around with holding my attention at first, but within a week, getting that taste of spiritual dark chocolate came as easy a pulling on a pair of socks. Sometimes, I got into such a glide, flying away from a high cliff or racing across the galaxy, it was necessary to deliberately change conscious states to draw myself back to normal consciouslous awareness.

Getting hooked on daily meditation didn’t take long. For me, meditation is like enjoying the spiritual equivalent of dark chocolate without getting fat or ruining my teeth. Meditation is a starshp I boarded the first time, knowing millions of others do the same every day, yet meditation turned out to be unlike anything I expected, especially the peak moments when the doors flew open, the adventures in being unhinged. Spiritual dark chocolate in the outer of inner space, it is.

Meditation as Spiritual Dark Chocolate: Benefits

The relaxation from my morning meditation was something I held onto some of all day. The sweet taste of that spiritual dark chocolate never completely left me.

A calm settled through me.

As I got dressed, took my subway to work and settled into my business routine, of course, the feeling of being at peace with the world and everything in it faded. Who feels at peace when a ten car train is barrlelling into the station? Or when management is having a meltdown over one thing or another.

But I soon learned to bring it back with mini-meditations whenever I needed them. I’d find myself the calmest person in any meeting, no matter what was going on, and I mean, way calmer.

Like Mark Thornton in his terrific book, Meditation in a New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy, I’d realize I was the only person in the room in bliss. After decades in management, then marketing and direct sales, these were always Wow! experiences.

Accustomed to a meditation lifestyle, I discovered annoying things that stuck on others began to blow by me like litter in a windstorm.

An explosion of tensions, a lost sale or a bungled service call could spray storms of anxiety or anger through our small office. Urgent calls might be placed and discussed. Managers hustled between private offices, closing doors behind them, and I’d be sitting at my desk, actively disguising my lack of alarm over the crisis of the day, remembering my spiritual dark chocolate.

Just another day, I’d think, and this one has different paint on it.

Office Window
Office Window
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Stress hooked everyone else on its grid of anxiety. Stress is a team game. Meditation teaches you that, in life, everything is ultimately okay. You can watch and even participate in the games, the cacophony of crazy calamities others create, but there is never a need to get your undies in a bunch.

There’s nothing wrong with inside games. In many ways, they’re a big part of what circulates us as humans, but we’d all enjoy them more if we remembered that we’re only playing. The games and the dramas will pass. They always have.

Downstream With Meditation As Spiritual Dark Chocolate

Meditation’s benefits splashed or leaked into every corner of my life.

I began to feel harbors of tension drain like drying up reservoirs in my muscles and bones.

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I’d struggled for over twenty years with what I thought was a permanently aching, stiff left knee. I’d injured it, I guessed, once summer when I played in two softball leagues and worked a job that had me running up and down stairs. At least, that was when I first noticed the swelling and the rusty hinge-like pains on a regular basis, especially on the mornings after hustling around as shortstop on our company team.

During my road running years, I protected my knee with elastic bands, yogi, and trips to the weight room. I got into a routine of babying it with hot water soaks.

Now, focused in meditation, I discovered that my cranky knee had become a storehouse for tension. Stress has to be resolved or set aside somewhere, and my knee had won the job. Not long after starting my meditation lifestyle, I began to feel waves of compressed energy throb away from my gradually less stiff knee.

These days, I no longer strategize about the next opportunity to grab a few minutes on a park bench, during our leisurely strolls around Manhattan.

Spiritual Awakening from Meditation

That spiritual dark chocolate, though, has been the ultimate benefit for my meditation lifestyle.

One evening while still in my twenties, after smoking a joint or two with a friend, I sat by her window and watched as flames from nearby steel plants lit the low clouds on an early winter night.

Something about how the intense red penetrated, then sunk back from the black opened a tunnel in my memory. Some distant recognition pulled me.

Branches from leafless trees created a web-like barrier separating me from the undulating fields of red and black in a hovering sky. I knew intuitively that I was looking at my own defenses, the intricate and multilayered crosshatch I’d thrown down over my most threatening emotions. These defenses were constructed when I was seven or eight, and I even got a glimpse of myself building what seemed most like a lean-to from branches torn from nearby trees, scrambling to protect myself against a rush of feeling I thought could overwhelm me.

Until that evening at Elizabeth’s, I’d set aside my psychic shelter in a place where I never looked at it. I didn’t remember walling off a fire until I saw it reflected back at me. Then, there was only knowing, recognizing. There was nothing I thought to do with my insight, except to keep knowing, to stay aware of an intensity I’d tucked away in the farthest recesses of memory.

Maybe I left it there, all this time, because I believed I still needed protection.

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Now, returning in the safety of meditation, I was able to bend back the branches and walk harmlessly down red-tinted corridors I’d closed off for decades. I reestablished unmediated contact with a pool of emotions I’d blocked off as a frightened child. It was the tactic I used to protect myself in a terrible time, and now, I dismantled it, thread by thread, bit by bit.

Wholeness began its return. If I’d quit meditating and never sat quietly listening to my breath again, I’d still have made the most awakening discovery of my life. I’d found the rest of me, the missing history of my soul.

A Meditation Lifestyle In Spiritual Dark Chocolate

Meditation eases me into an altered state where all conditions are retained, yet radically different. It’s like stepping slightly aside and into a place of release.

Insights once stalled just outside comprehension become clear. A limited blindness is lifted. I’ve been able to see, not only that the dots are connected, but how they interact, exchanging and transforming something I’ll call energy for lack of a better expression.

Surprises, things I’d never had any reason to expect from meditation, have altered my assumptions about the world in ways I never contemplated.

“Be open to everything,” Wayne Dyer advised. Meditation makes that commitment casual and risk free. There are no dangers inside a meditative state.

In actual practice as a meditator, I confess, I’m something of a disaster. My concentration scatters and rambles in odd directions.

A well-trained meditator focuses, usually on his or her own breathing, until the internal chatter subsides. Quieted, a mind sees and is otherwise exposed to a richness not otherwise available. There are times when I hone in, but I’ve conceded that, usually, fighting my inclination to drift is counterproductive.

All experience is individual. We have our own combination of materials and limitations to work with, different from anyone else’s. Yes, I coax my attention back to my breathing, as instructed, but when it feels resistant, I don’t wrestle with my own urges. My meditative experiences, then, are a hash. Like life.

Undisciplined though I may be, I’ve visited amazing places and taken rides of unimaginable wonder. I’ve raced through a cosmos enriched by sparkles in true darkness, passing stars and comets and entered immense emptiness.

I might’ve spent a small fortune at Disney and never gotten near the things I’ve seen while sitting peacefully in our blue chair my legs stretch out, the curious cats nearby.

Meditation Like Spiritual Dark Chocolate continues the free serialization from the 3rd Edition of my book, A Million Different Things: Meditations of the World’s Happiest Man. as Meditation #4 from the opening section, Morning.

An index to the serialization, including all links in sequence, can be accessed here: Gift of A Million Different Things.

David Stone, Writer

Interested in the original first edition in paperback?