Yesterday morning I took the U-bahn to Wedding to meditate with Mother Meera. By her devotees, this South Indian woman is considered to be an embodiment of the Divine Spirit on earth. The session (one of several that day) was attended by a couple of hundred people, and took place in some carpeted conference hall at the Wyndham Hotel. We sat on rows of chairs. A few minutes after I had entered the room with my friend, Mother Meera was led in. Everyone stood up, turned towards the middle aisle, and put their hands in 'namaste.' I waited a minute or two for Meera to say something, but quickly realized that she wasn't going to, and then closed my eyes.
Usually when I meditate it takes me quite awhile to settle in, I often have restlessness in my body. But now, within seconds of closing my eyes, I sank into stillness. And I felt something different. It felt like pressure. Especially on my chest, as if someone was trying to pry my ribcage open.
We sat for about an hour and fifteen minutes. The silence of the room was occasionally penetrated by coughs, baby screams from down the corridor, quite sobbing, a child screaming outside the building five floors down. I didn't open my eyes once. My mind was still flickering. I was thinking about this and that. Making plans and scheming. But my body was peaceful and that pressure on my chest, weight of energy remained.
Of course I also spent time during my meditation, thinking about that. What it was about, what it meant.
In 2006, when I spent one snowy month at the Shoshoni Ashram in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, I had a similar, but even stronger feeling, when, for the first time, meditating with the founder (the guru). After struggling through about three hours per day of mediation sittings, that just stoked my fire, made me feel angry and frustrated because I couldn't get my mind to settle down, and that my body was hurting, I had a breakthrough. All of a sudden it felt like my body was a fountain of light and exploding colors. I felt pleasure gushing through every pore. And when the bell rang, to signal that the session was over, something I, up until that point had responded to with: Thank Fucking God, this time I was like: Nooooo! I don't want to come down from this fantastic high!
In 2014, when I got hugged by Amma at her ashram in Kerala, India, I felt nothing but stressed out, and afterwards very, very disenchanted.
After the sitting with Mother Meera was over, and we were filing out towards the elevators and bathrooms, there was the fully stocked merch table and giant donation boxes. The meditation was free, but why not spend some cash on Mother Meera t-shirts, Mother Meera keychains, Mother Meera-totebags, Mother Meera posters and postcards, Mother Meera magnets, Mother Meera notebooks, pins, necklaces etc, etc?
I'm a skeptic by nature. A skeptic who desperately wants to be blown away. I'm not sure if this woman (or the Shoshoni Guru) truly has some special, 'higher' energy or not ( want to think some people do). Or if it was the collective energy of everyone in the room I felt. All their longings after meaning, truth, peace. Salvation. Or if it was the very real and scientifically proven placebo effect. What do you think?