Off the Mat: Maze of Meditation Leads to the Senses

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Meditation is like a kindergartener in a corn maze.

My kiddo has been drawing mazes for months. They started as amorphous, blobby worm-like passages with an S for start and an F for finish at opposite ends. But they’ve grown. Evolved. Mutated into intricate intestinal networks. He fills sketchpad after sketchpad, after sketchpad with twists and turns and traps of more and more complexity. We’ve invested in cap erasers and a $1 flea market electric pencil sharpener, so packed with shavings I did wonder about the presence of actual lead from pencils of old.

On a recent Saturday, we coughed up $25 for a family excursion to a local corn maze. Not one for such seasonal fanfare, I was pleasantly surprised to find the experience worth the expense. My imagination had pictured a box hedge maze straight out of the Shining or Harry Potter, depending on your generational frame of reference. 

Meditation is like a kindergartener in a corn maze.

Oh no. This was art. Arial photos on display depicted a detailed portrait planted into the field. Handout maps showed paths and stopping points for three additional puzzles inside the maze: easy, medium and hard, left brain and right. Clever stuff. A lot of effort went into this.

My kiddo wasn’t resistant to the games but wasn’t particularly interested in them. Didn’t care for the map, either. He just wanted to wander. Here, someone had transformed his two-dimensional paper and pencil puzzles into three dimensions, life size to explore with feet, not markers. Blue sky above, mud below, corn stalks all around. The three of us at the center of it all.

On Sunday, we climbed a neighboring peak to get the view from above. It seems almost too cliché to mention how with enough distance, with perspective, the maze’s dead ends seemed so obvious. The paths clear. Twists and turns which had proven frustrating on the ground leant richness to the whole.

Reflecting on being in the maze, my son shared,

You know how I found my way? I listened. I couwd heaw when we wewe neaw da road or da people. I listened fow which way to go.

I was reminded of our a-maze-ing experience a week later during class with my yoga teacher. This particular day, he waxed on about dimensions. We tend to live flat, linear, two-dimensional lives. In our 2D day-to-day, we don’t have the perspective to see the wider view. But add depth through meditation – step out, look down, gain a bit breathing room – and it’s easier to take in the full scope.

I found myself thinking of the corn maze. How as adults, we need a plan, a map, the end game spelled out for us. We want to see what we are getting ourselves into. We expect to be entertained along the way. The puzzles, games, contests to win. Demand our money’s worth. Kettle corn and a complimentary pumpkin upon exit.

And it clicks for me. Meditation is like a kindergartener in a corn maze. Through meditation, I build my concentration muscle to practice 3D living. When my mind goes down one of those wayward paths, composing the grocery list or rehashing conversations, I bring it gently back.

Here is my breath.

My weight.

My lightness.

Bring my attention to one place and keep it there. Get to know the place where silence resides, undisturbed by whatever passes through. Visit here regularly so I know the way by heart. So when I’m chopping carrots with my sister on speaker phone and my kiddo urgently needs to show me his latest Lego innovation RIGHT NOW! … I don’t lose it. I have depth – dimensionality – to call upon. I have space to breathe.

Can I approach meditation like a kindergartener in a corn maze? Notice the mind’s games, but not get caught up in them. Listen for direction. The only way out is in. We are located here. Now. The three of us together, exploring the fourth dimension – Time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ginny Hamilton

Ginny is a yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, gardener, activist, and middle aged Mama. She has put down roots in South Amherst with her spouse and young son. Daily she’s amazed by the beauty the Pioneer Valley offers, though her allergies beg to differ. She believes our natural state is to be balanced in body and mind so spirit can flow freely. Because modern life gets in the way, she offers self-healing bodywork to unravel imbalances and restore energy flow. In Off the Mat, Ginny explores how yoga’s physical and mindfulness exercises help her parent and how parenting shapes her yoga practice.

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