I Used to Rarely Smile; Now It Is Hard Not to Smile
When I contemplate my life, the sixty years fall into three distinct categories. The first twenty-nine years I was a sleep walker living on an emotional path that gradually spiraled downward. Those sad years prompted me to spend the next thirty years as a seeker of spiritual Truth. Now that I have been practicing this meditation, I am on the road to becoming the Truth that I studied about as a seeker.
Growing up, I was the youngest child in my family. As a result, I had numerous opportunities to study my older sister and I discovered that the best way to stay out of trouble was to just be quiet and follow the rules. This strategy worked for a while but eventually austere obedience began to take its toll and I got into the habit of daydreaming in order to cope with what I was suppressing in my daily life. In my dreams, I could do anything I wanted and I could have everything exactly as I wished it to be. Unfortunately, my unrealistic fantasies were a set up for disappointment. The space between my dreams and my real life situations steadily increased. In my imaginary life I had some pretty high standards but in reality, I could not live up to them. In fact no one could live up to them.
As a young adult, I seldom felt adequate. I expended a lot of energy trying to live up to my distorted perspective. I became increasingly introverted. In public, I rarely spoke and I tried not to do anything to bring attention to myself. As I grew into adulthood, I pretty much followed the script that my parents had planned for me. I did well academically, went to college, became a teacher, got married and had two children. We lived in a nice home, I drove an expensive car and we took vacations on a regular basis. To the casual observer, I had all of the trappings of a good and successful life but to myself, I felt inauthentic and hypocritical. In public, I appeared calm and collected but at home, the slightest little thing that didn’t go my way could trigger an angry rant.
In my mid twenties, I began experiencing both physical and mental health challenges. It was during that time that a relative left a spiritual magazine at my home. I had attended church all of my life but I had become disillusioned with the traditional teaching. Reading that magazine introduced me to “New Age” philosophy and I found it fascinating. My search for spiritual Truth had begun. Over the next thirty years, I built an extensive library of spiritual books, along with many audio and video recordings. I joined a church that taught about Truth. There, I took classes and learned several meditation methods. I attended conferences and seminars and I traveled with spiritual teachers to visit mystics and healers in various parts of the world. While I was actively engaged in those practices, I did feel better but I was bewildered that I could not maintain a positive outlook on a day-to-day basis. Most of the time, I just felt sad, tense, or uneasy. One of my students asked me one day, “Do you ever smile?” I realized in that moment how futile my search had been. I had memorized a lot of very good information but I had not made any significant change in the way I felt. I was still so unhappy that even a little child could see it. I had replaced my youthful daydreams with spiritual fantasies.
After teaching middle school mathematics for eighteen years, I retired at age fifty-five. Once again I appeared to be living the good life. My two sons graduated from college and had nice families of their own. We didn’t have a lot of money but my husband and I were able to do a little traveling. For a few months I felt a sense of relief. But it was short lived as my elderly mother’s health began to rapidly decline. Consequently, I was the one designated to manage her affairs. Interestingly, after my mother moved into a long term care facility, it was while visiting her that I picked up a brochure for the meditation. I remember that I skimmed through the booklet and put it back on the table but then I decided it might be worth more careful consideration. During my thirty years as a seeker, I had been disappointed by so many self-help strategies, all of which had promised to be life changing. Since my life had remained basically the same, I feared that I might get let down once again.
The brochure spoke of the possibility of peace on earth, a concept that I yearned to experience so I went home and checked out the meditation website. I also, found the idea of throwing away memories I have stored as pictures to be both intriguing and promising. I had previously tried to use an audio program to process memories but that method had been a little confusing and very difficult to use alone at home. With this meditation I would be guided by a helper who could answer my questions in a quiet and sacred setting. I decided to give it a try.
The process was clear and simple to follow. After only 21 days of meditation, I passed the first level. The enlightenment of that one level was more profound than anything I imagined during the thirty years I spent as a seeker. My outlook on life changed completely. Now I can finally see light at the end of the dark tunnel I have been living in. It has been a little over a year now and every time I pass a level I find it amazing that the realizations can get any better but they do. After each session I feel like layers of dirty film have been removed. The world looks clear and bright and there is calmness around me.
Letting go of the past I no longer feel defined by my gender or the other roles that I use to identify with; wife, mother, daughter, etc. As an African American female, I used to feel like a victim and I thought I was obligated to defend and represent for the entire race. What a relief it is to not take racial remarks personally. Conversely, I no longer define others by their race and I have compassion for all people. Before this meditation, I scrutinized and judged every little thing I observed others doing, especially my husband. I constantly corrected his every word and action. Although I did not speak my judgmental thoughts about my friends, inside I could hear my own admonishing voice complaining and debating their behavior as well. This habitual judging sapped me of energy and the contentious thoughts kept me in a state of uneasiness. Now, I don’t need as much sleep and I feel peaceful inside. I can now see clearly that my negative judgments were reflected back to me through my husband and others. When I have negative thoughts now, I can ignore them and realize that they are only pointing out pictures that I still need to discard. Additionally, all of the little things I found annoying in people are usually innocuous and often amusing to me now.
I used to rarely smile; now it is hard not to smile. I am so grateful to Woo Myung for creating the meditation method that anyone can use to become Truth. Thanks to the meditation, I am visibly happier, my body feels lighter, and I have much more energy. Instead of me creating a make believe world, I am learning to live authentically in the real world; the world that is perfect as it is.