Wave Hill is a beautiful, former mansion in Riverdale (Bronx, NY), with grounds overlooking the Hudson River, that’s now open to the public. Some years ago (having the time available during the summer, as a teacher), I’d go there.
I’d sit in a chair, close my eyes, and for hours, simply repeat: “G-d is good, all is G-d, all is good.” I made no effort to feel anything or to “concentrate.” I made no effort to convince myself of the truth of this syllogism, either. I simply kept repeating the words. I’d literally do this for hours. The longer I did it, the better I felt. Each day, if I started around 9AM, by noon I was just overflowing with feeling blissful, secure; surrounded by, immersed in and filled with G-d’s Presence and Goodness.
I thought I couldn’t possibly feel any better. I could feel myself smiling; seeing myself in a mirror, I looked happier than I could remember appearing or feeling.
Even so, after some days, something even greater happened: my heart began to burst with the same feeling. There was a real sense of getting to a new spiritual level. I’d thought my heart was already full (during meditation). What a surprise to find out that it was still “all in my head.” What’s more, it also began to permeate my feeling outside of these meditative times.
This went on for a month. Of course, when school reopened, I hardly had the time to do this. Also, the daily pressures and frustrations increased, and I didn’t have as relatively peaceful a way of dealing with them as I do now (still need lots of progress in this area). I came to see the need for both the contemplative experience, and the learning of more peace-producing or -maintaining responses. Although with enough contemplative experience, there’d be a more or less natural transformation of responses, it’s probably also true that along the way, we have to learn ways to not allow ourselves to become disturbed, or not to allow ourselves to disturb the peace we receive in meditation.
When I returned to school, my principal remarked, “You look younger.”
(written 1/26/10, about experiences I had in 8/94).