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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

About a month ago, I started meditating for fifteen minutes in the morning before starting work. I walk into my office, put away my lunch and my bag and then plop down on my zafu pillow. I start with ten rounds of alternate nostril breathing and follow this up with twenty four rounds of a mantra. It has been an a easy forming habit for Monday through Friday. Meditation comes in other forms on weekends. I don't sit down for a traditional round of meditation, but I don't take my vitamins or floss on weekends either. There are some Sundays when I don't brush my teeth until well after noon. That is not the point. The point is that I have formed a new weekday habit and instead of starting my day by reading all the emails and checking in to all the online places, I start my day by mentally cleaning up my brain. The best analogy I can come up with is that it's like starting an intense baking project with a clean kitchen as opposed to working around dirty countertops, cake batter encrusted bowls and sticky floors. 

When Yogananda was a young man, he would sit in meditation and see visions of his Guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Eat Pray Love, describes having visions of her guru while in meditation. I have heard other stories as well. People see their guru or Buddha or even a vision of what they can only describe as God. I see nothing. Well...not nothing exactly. I see colors that range from deep blue and violet to something in the far red. I say far red because I know those wavelengths penetrate deep tissue. So I assume my eyelids are filtering out most all of the other wavelengths since white light (regular light bulb) contains all of the wavelengths. The blue and violet are probably due to synapses firing because they are confused by the absence of light. I am a scientist with a Spock like brain. The thing is I don't see a guru (probably because I don't have a guru) and I don't see anything God-like. Though, the other day I saw a silhouette of a deer and thought "Oh! That's must be my patronus!" Then I slapped myself on the forehead and snorted. That must be my patronus. Really? That must be ridiculous. Everyone knows my patronus is an elephant. 

At one point I had a fleeting thought that I don't see anything because I don't believe in anything. I'm lying. It wasn't really a fleeting thought. It's a thought that has stuck around for awhile. At first I thought "Wow! I really don't believe in anything." It was suddenly easy to fathom endless nothing. I can see a little me sitting in the middle of nothing and it's true that I don't believe in gurus and gods. That's simplifying things. When it comes to God, I don't believe in the religious texts' description and interpretation of "God". Sure there's got to be something greater than us out there, but I think that something greater is that force that makes us all work together for the greater good. It's being a part of this great ant colony as opposed to being a lone wolf. That something greater is too big for word descriptions. In the case of gurus, I don't believe anyone should have that kind of powerful influence over your spirituality. I feel this way towards any religious affiliation. Priests, Rabbis, Imams. Even Buddhist monks. I am my own guru. Which sounds fucking arrogant right? Maybe so. Arrogant or not, it's true. I am the one responsible for my spiritual or lack of spiritual growth. 

I don't believe in nothing. I believe in me. Sure there's some arrogance in that, but shouldn't you believe in yourself just a little bit? I'm not so sure it is arrogance as much as it is self worth.