As a child, one of my favorite things to do used to be to look out from high places. The top of sliding boards. Looking out of a second or third story window. Sitting on my big sister’s shoulders. Or maybe even a small glance from a see-saw as I sprang up into the sky and then back down to earth again and again. When I discovered there was really such a thing, however, as a glass elevator... it was a wrap. I mean, in addition to being able to push the button (which was always super thrilling) I got to watch the entire world become smaller and smaller as I ascended into the air like Charlie (from the Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) in the glass elevator. In the movie adaptation with Gene Wilder, Charlie exclaims “Look Grandpa! I can see our house from here!” This was the part me and my sisters always waited for. This ending. Where a glass elevator soared through the sky in every direction and the child-heir to a candy factory, the one pushing the buttons, spotted his house. (In hindsight, the thought of this was probably a nightmare for parents or people with vertigo.)
As an adult, I may not be an heir to a candy factory, but I can still appreciate a good view from high up in the air. I can also appreciate the perspective I achieve when I put distance between my body and the ground. Whether I’m in a glass elevator, in a skyscraper overlooking the city or in an airplane taking off into the sky. And this leads me to what we’re focusing on this month with our theme for July...
One of the things that I have been happy to achieve when I practice meditation is an elevated perspective. When I close my eyes and focus on nothing but breathing in and out, I often find that images of the universe come to mind. Perhaps it’s because when one’s eyes are closed, it’s easy to imagine the deep, blackness of space. In these moments, my fears, my worries and everything that plagues me drift into the great abyss as the little blue orb that I call home grows smaller and smaller.
Now lucky for me, my meditation doesn’t stay in the blackness of space. Just like the see-saw, I am gingerly brought back down to earth where I can reassess my situation with fresh eyes. Eyes that have “seen the mountaintop.” My mind knows what it feels like to have a moment of peace and clarity, elevated above the mish-mash of everyday ‘earth-life’ scenarios and can act like a kind of Google-maps satellite for the rest of my body, translating this peaceful information.
All is well. All is as it should be. Everything is at peace. We are at peace. These are affirmations relayed to me from the great beyond, putting me at ease. A beautiful reminder. A sweet surrender.
That said, we at Black Women’s Day of Meditation challenge you - with your next meditation - to elevate your mind and therefore your body and spirit.
When you get a chance, we encourage you to try this meditation...
Find a quiet place where you won’t get distracted. Turn off any electronics that might disturb you (unless, of course, you want to listen to soothing music). Get into a comfortable position, sitting in a chair. Or on the ground with your legs folded.
Close your eyes and inhale deeply. Using your belly. And exhale slowly until your lungs are empty. This is a preparatory breath.
Now on your next inhale, imagine that you are ascending up, up, up into the sky.
Up... up... up...
Until earth’s atmosphere drifts away behind you.
Up... up... up...
...as earth disappears and you are in the peaceful, quiet blackness of space.
You wait there a moment. Taking in the beauty. The majesty of distant stars and planets.
And now you exhale, lowering back down to earth.
Down... down... down.
Earth is back into focus again.
Down... down... down.
You can see the geography of your continent. The terrain of your country. Your neighborhood. The beauty and majesty of your body, as you return to it.
Continue to do this exercise, inhaling upward... ascending, elevating your energy into space. Then descending peacefully back into your body.
And once you have completed this exercise to your liking, feel free to continue your meditation however you see fit. Whether it be focusing on your breath, continuing to inhale and exhale in and out of the universe or resting in another safe mental space.
Whatever you do, please remember that your mind, body and spirit are worthy of wonder, of peace and of rest.