Sit comfortably, take a deep breath, slowly exhale, inhale at a snail’s pace, exhale, and listen to your beautiful breath. We were attending a yoga teacher-training program in Costa Rica. The space we occupied was on the top floor of the resort, which was housed in a gorgeous region of the jungle. Glass doors that overlooked the pristine pacific surrounded the room. My mentor, Beryl Bender Birch, softly explained that we were presently in meditation. There are several types of meditation that are extremely beneficial. We were being conducted in a form of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation involves being more consciously aware of your surroundings, feelings, and thoughts.
I squirmed slightly, as I tried to allow my body to surrender. In the distance I heard birds chirping and a howling monkey with endless sounds.
I understood meditation. It simply balances a person’s emotional, mental and physical state. By sitting quietly and focusing I could relieve myself of any distractions by taking deep breaths which in turn helped to calm my mind, sense awareness, and made me feel more alive and focused. I enjoy meditation and have been participating in it for many years. With my eyes closed, my legs crossed, my breath flowing in a slow pattern, life was content. I continued breathing and suddenly my body tightened. I recognized deep thunderous howling. I opened one eye, turned my heard and saw a howling monkey seated on a tree limb close to the glass door. It felt like he was staring at me. I knew I had to return to meditation, but the howling was inside my mind. I tried to concentrate, except I was distracted by the howling monkey’s low-pitched volume. My heart beat rapidly, my breath became short and fast, and sweat protruded down my face. Why did the distractions interfere with the meditation, my mind? Did this distraction originate from a feeling in my consciousness?
I pondered through past events and then remembered. Two weeks prior I had an appointment with a head and neck physician at the Cleveland Clinic. I discovered this prominent surgeon had been a member of the miraculous medical treatment team for a woman who had been horrifically mauled by a monkey. News about her attack was worldwide. Therefore, knowing about the incident and meeting with the physician, transformed into my minds distraction with the monkey. (Presently the woman resides in Boston continuing rehabilitation treatments.)
In order to come back to meditation I visualized the monkey, acknowledge the thought, and then resumed breathing and listening. The constant rhythm of inhaling and exhaling helps to bring deep breaths instead of short shallow ones like I exhibited. By redirecting the stimulation inside my head, the benefits that come are incredible. I felt happiness and peaceful. I was able to appreciate everything so much more. As you practice listening to your breath, distractions will fade away. You will experience a great awakening during a meditation session, even with a monkey howling.
I hope you found this helpful, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you meditate in the jungle, concrete or otherwise?
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