Smokes your problems, coughs fresh air.

Meditating with Iris for the first time

Yesterday evening, I met with Iris for a Transcendental Meditation (TM) session at her mother’s. Today, this night, I’m still shaken up by the experience.

We started our mental journey in her bedroom, after she had created a little atmosphere by lighting a few candles and turning off the electrical lights. Soon after we started—I was sitting against the wall with my knees stretched while she was sitting in front of me, cross-legged on a small sitting bag—my mind started wandering. My thoughts moved uncontrollably while my body vibrated uneasily. My breathing was very convulsive and I found it hard to return to my mantra. (For the uninitiated, a mantra is the word or phrase which you repeat to yourself to quell away any thoughts that occur during meditation.)

Some time passed with my awareness moving around. It moved from the strangeness of this new environment to my unfamiliarity with this strange girl—a beautiful new friend whom I could hardly believe to be sitting there in front of me to share this bizarre, new sensation. I was still in a nervous mind. All the hopes and fears regarding myself and this person kept my mind away from the deep acceptance and love that where present in the moment.

After some time, my breathing did steady a bit and my mind did center a bit (and my legs and my butt started hurting a bit), but it wasn’t until the moment that my watch announced the end of the meditation that I started to realize how deep I had been affected by this session.

When, after 20 minutes, we both reopened our eyes, we started to exchange experiences. I noted that even my belly was wet with clammy sweat as were my palms, my armpits and my back. I noted that, to me, it felt as if this was the result of the enormous tension which I had released. While I said these things and as we spoke further, I experienced a novel feeling of acceptance and peace. I was awe-struck when she told me how her experience had also been so much more powerful than what she was used to. She described to me that, with her eyes closed, she had seen me as an energetic silhouette or shadow with my Chakras visible to her and connected to hers. We continued to talk for a very pleasant little while, in a still somewhat connected state, until we were called to dinner.

The moment, later that evening, that I finally had to let go of her company, I was filled with a lonely feeling of melancholy and sadness, even of despair.

For many months, something under the surface had been causing me a recurring need, but no actual cause, to cry or shout or do whatever else is needed to let go of whatever it was that often made me feel miserably melancholic. Now, that feeling was stronger than I ever remembered it to be. I wanted to cry to let it go but nothing happened. I tried to wallow in the feeling, but that only made it worse.

Two nights before yesterday night had been the first night that I reluctantly, but somewhat seriously, had told myself that I was o.k.. That was a first in my life. I even went as far as to tell myself that I was o.k. the way I was, which somehow, until yesterday evening, was a big thing. It was so big a thing, in fact, that there’s nothing in my life of which I’ve been more scared than simply admitting that there’s nothing I need to do before I am acceptable.

Yesterday evening I felt truly accepted, and it didn’t come from me. It came from Iris. Her accepting presence butchered the possibility of not accepting myself. Now, I’m clumsily crawling back to that haven of peace, because, after we had to disconnect, I was left to my own devices. She was no longer there to accept me for me. Now I have to accept me for myself, and I’m still feeling the healing of a painful wound. Not many days ago this wound was still almost invisible. I could only feel the hurting and not where it was from. Now I know where it’s from. After my experience with Iris, I also know how it feels without. Even though that difference makes the hurting so much worse, it makes the healing so much easier. I can hardly wait for the next session!

(A special thanks also goes to my mom, who, when I arrived at her house after this painful goodbye, patiently massaged the tense tissue of my back, my neck and my shoulders until I felt less lonely and more relaxed.)


  1. Rowan Rodrik

    I’m glad that I’m less susceptible to new age bullshit these days, but I pity the fact that I’m still so ashamed of what goes on inside of me. I’m inclined to delete it to hide my embarrassing past, but this would invalidate the present at the same time.

  2. halfgaar

    “Revisionist history, it’s such a comfort.” I always found it very daring you write such personal stuff on your blog. It’s also brave not to delete it. It’s kind of two-faced, though. It may invalidate the present if you delete it, but keeping it could hold you back, I guess. I wonder, did you find this post by accident, or did you consciously look it up to make this comment?

    I was going to try to make a profound comment, but my sense of poetics must still be sleeping… Let me just say, referring to your post above (from 2007), that you are OK, more than OK, the way you are. You wouldn’t be my good friend for ± 18 years otherwise. I know that there are things you want to change and are unhappy about, but that doesn’t detract from you being OK.

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