When my nephew, Owen, was a wee boy…somewhere between the ages of four and six, my family and I relished the moments with him before he drifted off to sleep. There would always be this moment, snug in his bed, when his breath began to slow, his eye lids would close, and his cherubic grin created a peaceful glow across his face. Then, with his eyes still closed, a shift came in the form of a quizzical brow. He would present us with a thoughtful question and just as quickly fall back asleep. Over the years we began to refer to these cozy minutes as, Owen’s Deep Thought.
My fondest deep thought occurred when we were reading him, “The Wizard of Oz.” I believe this particular evening was shortly after reading the chapter when, Glenda the Good Witch, was introduced. As he began to drift, he shuddered gently awake. With his eyes still closed, he said in an urgent whisper, “Aunt Sam…” (followed by his typical dramatic pause.) “Did I ever tell you about my force field?”
“Why, no.” I softly replied. “It sounds fantastic! Tell me about it.”
Groggily he whispered, “well, it goes from here (thumping his chest) all the way to my bookcase.”
“Fantastic. What color is it?”
“Blue. It can protect you too.” And, just as quickly as he woke, he returned to the Land of Nod.
Recently, I was recalling this story with my sister and we were thinking how amazing it would be, if as adults, we could create our own force field. Great protector from bad days at work, stress and negative people. Emotional insulation if you will.
The closest feeling I have ever had to a force field as an adult was during meditation. Although it does not arise every time, when it does happen the moment is rather special and lingers with me throughout the day. Lately, while I meditate, I am making a conscious effort to notice where my mind is when this feeling arises. Am I concentrating on my breath? A mantra? Or, image?
For me, it comes in the form of an image of myself sitting on top of a tall, cylindrical stone formation surrounded by the ocean. I take note of the state of the ocean. Are the waves rough and crashing? Or, still and clear blue? Are there clouds in the sky? Or, is it perfectly clear? At times, the formation is more of a cliff connected to mountain.
While taking note of these details, it is interesting to see how they relate to my daily life. When many clouds appear in the sky, I typically have a lot on my mind and focus on dissipating them until the sky is as close to clear blue as possible. If the waves are crashing, I focus on changing the image to calm water.
Being mindful in this way during meditation, is a place to explore and practice utilizing our thoughts to regulate imagery and in turn creates a powerful tool to regulate thoughts and emotions in our day to day life. Just as time passes, so do emotions. They are temporary.
Through meditation, we strengthen our inner force field. With practice, we can harness this strength and project this field of calm at moments of frustration, sadness, and anger. While having our own personal Yoda by our side every day would be ever so handy, isn’t it comforting to know that in each of us there is a pulse of Owen’s blue light? Be your own Jedi Master. Practice focusing on the light that surrounds you and be amazed how negative emotions dim into the darkness.
May the force be with you.