Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An Origami Heart

“Meditate on these things, and give thyself wholly to them…” -1 Tim 4:15

In my book I talk a lot about the value of mediation during pregnancy. David O Makay said:

“I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. … Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as ‘a form of private devotion or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.’ Meditation is a form of prayer. …
“Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord.”

Here is a small part of my story and some ways meditation helped me. Please feel free to share your story with me, and if you feel comfortable, with the rest of those reading. Here is my story.

During my first trimester, after I separated from my husband, I was staying with a friend who took care of me while I waited out the nausea. My friend Lisa is a beautiful Polish-Canadian who was living in California teaching English to Russian and Japanese students. In addition to her wonderful head rubs and Polish cooking, she gave me another great gift: she taught me to make paper cranes.

“My students say that if you make 1000 of them, you get a wish,” she said.

“What shall I wish for?” I asked. I had already made six and was enjoying a feeling of productivity I had not felt in weeks. I loved the transformation of bright colored paper into a beautiful representation of life.

“Wish for a healthy baby,” she said.

Of course. With all the stress and heartbreak and nausea, I sometimes forgot about the baby. Folding cranes, I turned my thoughts inward. Each crane was for her.

I folded crane after crane for months, while the same calming CD played on repeat 24-hours a day. Mountain fold. Valley fold. I knew my baby’s forming body depended on it. It was the only thing that could keep me from thinking, or crying.

My friends and home teachers watched the growing mountain of paper birds with interest. “It’s calming,” I told them. “Like a meditation. Every crane is a prayer.”

In my second trimester, when I felt well enough to exercise, I found a prenatal Kundalini yoga class in a Sikh neighborhood, and learned meditation as it has been done by great gurus, yogis, and others for eons. To it, I brought my own spiritual knowledge and intentions.

Many of the meditations I did during my pregnancy were for strength. I held my arms high in the air for 11 minutes while chanting “Har Har Hari,” which translated, means: strength. During this time, I received much strength from within (perhaps literally from within my womb), but the rest came from God, and my ancestors. When I felt inspired to do so, I placed a large chart of ten generations of my ancestors in front of me and sang “Ari Shakti,” (translated: the divine feminine). I held my index fingers in the air and imagined them as antennae, tuning in to the female power in the universe and the women in my life stream. This was incredibly powerful. I felt them surrounding me and lifting me up. I continued to fold cranes each day, and every crane now represented an ancestor as well as a prayer.

Sometimes, instead of singing, I just listened to music and watched the smoke of incense rising—a sublime, beautiful sight. Buddhists use incense to communicate with their ancestors. I like this idea. As I watched the smoke curling and rising toward heaven, I thought of my mother, my grandmother, and great grandmothers. Their presence permeated the house like the friendly aroma of incense and hovered for days. I felt so loved and supported by them. I wish I had known years ago that all it took to access this power was a few minutes of quiet time, meditating on them.

A week before my daughter was born, I finished stringing the 1000 cranes on more than 100 strings, weighted with sea shells. I hung them in my daughter’s room so that they cover the whole ceiling. The effect is magical. They twist and spin gently in the breeze, and looking up at them, I am mesmerized. Every time I look at them I think of 3 Nephi 25:22 that says “… unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”

My daughter was born healthy and beautiful, with all the wisdom of a thousand years in one tiny body. I know that she is as happy and as gentle as she is because of the time I spent during my pregnancy, transforming our lives through quiet communion with God.

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