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Sister Alma Rose Teaches Meditation
Sister Alma Rose is teaching me to meditate. Nothing could be easier, really… and there are many ways to meditate, including the labyrinth for people who can’t sit or lie still.
As you know, Sister Alma Rose sometimes does lying-down meditations, which are really, I think, screening her real purpose, which is to nap. But I could be wrong.
She has taught me to meditate in a position similar to that of the woman in the photo above, except I don’t have gorgeous collarbones as she does, nor do I want to sit in a puddle. Also, Sister Alma Rose would never instruct her students to hold their heads in that unnatural “heads back” position, but, rather, our necks are straight and held comfortably, chins tucked in just a bit.
Here is the point…
The body is a metaphor for the spirit. The position of the woman’s hands, extended, resting on her knees, indicates a willingness to freely accept God’s gifts, which are grace.
She is sitting with an “open heart,” her shoulders back, her heart exposed, concealing nothing and eager to enfold others, whether their hearts be whole or damaged.
The body scan
Sometimes Sister Alma Rose has me begin meditation with a body scan. You consciously relax every muscle, every bone, every organ, every cell in your body, beginning with the toes and working your way up to the “crown” — the top of the head.
When you do a body scan, you might find some areas of discomfort. Often, the pain will disappear in a few minutes just by your allowing your attention to rest in the uncomfortable areas.
After you are finished with the body scan and with your meditation, think about the areas of discomfort that you noticed. Discomfort and pain mean that your body is trying to tell you something.
The body doesn’t lie
For example, Sister Alma Rose says that if your eyes are burning and itching, there is probably something going on in your life that you refuse to “see.” If the pain is in your abdomen, you have a “gut feeling” about something… a decision you’ve made or a situation you’re in. “Go with your gut,” Sister Alma Rose almost always advises.
If you have a persistent headache, you could be overanalyzing something that might benefit from an intuitive approach. Not every problem can be solved solely by the intellect.
And — pardon me — if you are constipated, it might be because you are “holding in” feelings that need to be expressed. If you are angry with someone, it is best to express your feelings in a civil way. Don’t worry if the person you’re mad at doesn’t “change.” Don’t sigh and complain, “I tell him and I tell him, and it doesn’t do any good.” Of course it does some good, to bring your feelings out in the open instead of hiding them and letting them fester and forgetting about them until they turn on you in some awful way.
Someone once said, “The only reason to tell someone what you feel is to tell someone what you feel.” You are giving information. What the other person does with that information is up to him or her.
Sometimes people can be annoying
Now — There will always be people in your life who irritate you and who offer you no way of escaping because THEY ARE YOUR RELATIVES. My own parents are perfect, but if I were to marry Pablo in ten years I would have to deal with his sister’s snide comments and his mother’s overprotectiveness. I’m sure Pablo’s mamacita would feel that anything I did for Pablo would be flawed because I would not be doing it HER way. (But anyway, I am never going to marry Pablo. He is just my best friend.)
Sister Alma Rose suggests two different way to deal with people who annoy you, if you can’t avoid them altogether:
(1) Stop focusing exclusively on the words or the actions of the irritating person. Instead see the whole person, and project love and light from your heart to that person. Breathe in, to capture the light that shines from above and is always around you. Breathe out, to embrace the other person in the light.
(2) Silently repeat this mantra:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. —Psalm 51:10
If the other person is at all toxic, this meditation will protect your heart from the other’s poison and will allow you to be clean and new, free of “baggage,” at any time you choose. Even before Sister Alma Rose began teaching me to meditate, I always liked to repeat this verse from Psalms to remind me to claim my innocence and state of grace. “Restore in me the joy of your salvation,” the Psalm goes on to say, “and uphold me with your free spirit.”
“Never,” says Sister Alma Rose, “never allow anyone to steal your joy.”
Sister Alma Rose Is Steamin’
Sister Alma Rose does not always practice what she preaches. Mrs. Groom, the wife of the Presbyterian pastor in Hilltop, appeared uninvited on Sister Alma Rose’s wonderful, spacious, grass-green porch one day, while Sister Alma Rose and Pablo and I were playing UNO, and she, Mrs. Groom, I mean, proceeded to lecture Sister Alma Rose about Portia, who is Cousin Dulcie’s daughter, which means, I think, that Portia is Sister Alma Rose’s first cousin once removed. In any case, there is no controlling Portia. She is part wood nymph, part bright redbird, and I have seen her fly, and I am not making that up. (I am almost sure she is one of the Ancients.)
After listening calmly to Mrs. Groom for about five minutes, which was when Mrs. Groom ran out of breath, Sister Alma Rose poked her index finger, which is large, just like the rest of Sister Alma Rose, into the area of Mrs. Groom’s solar plexus, and Sister Alma Rose stood very close to her and said, “Amanda Groom, y’all are and always have been an interfering old busybody, and nobody in or around Hilltop has ever mended his or her ways because of y’all’s scolding, and Portia harms no one, and I want y’all off my property this minute or I shall call Sheriff Dunleavy and have y’all’s fat wiggly ass hauled to the county jail.”
Mrs. Groom stalked off the porch and down the drive, and she was about halfway to the road when Sister Alma Rose called after her: “Amanda Groom!”
Mrs. Groom turned and fixed a cold stare upon Sister Alma Rose.
“Amanda Groom,” Sister Alma Rose repeated, “get a life.”
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