Meditation Master Sally Kempton Takes On The Big Apple--With Love And Compassion
I just returned from a 3 hour trip into New York City. I went in to the city to take a meditation workshop with my friend, and Master Meditation teacher, Sally Kempton. She's just out of this world. I can tell you right now, whether you've meditated less than one minute your entire life or if you are a master yourself, you'd love her workshops. Sally has a way of making everyone feel comfortable, no matter how far along the spiritual path you are. She engages everyone. There's just no ego holding her back from touching the hearts of all of her students.
I must admit, getting to the workshop was like pulling teeth. I was dealing with an infected surgery all week, coupled with the fact that I can't drive yet due to the fact that I can't turn my head (plus, I'm on some serious spinal meds that make me loopier than usual). Luckily, my parents offered to drive me into the city. They ate dinner at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant (my mom's all-time favorite player--#7) while I enjoyed the relaxing, comforting atmosphere of Sally's workshop.
The workshop material was just perfect for me. I propped myself up against a wall so I would have something to rest my head against, considering it's not too easy for me to hold my head up for any length of time yet. Sally spoke about dealing with pain during meditation. This is one of the greatest lessons that I have ever learned from her: how to enter into the feeling of pain, rather than resist it. That practice alone helped me get through the triple fusion like you could never even imagine. Sometimes when I was experiencing pain, I would say to myself, "The pain is just a ball of energy" or "Nothing exists that is not Shiva. This pain, too, is a manifestation of Shiva." These practices would remind me not to resist the pain, but to accept it for what it is. I really didn't have to take too much pain medication while recovering from the fusion surgery (not as much as I expected, anyway). Now, last week's pain from the latest surgery's infected scar was another story; that pain was so bad I felt nauseous. I needed the pain meds, coupled with remembrance (of God in my life, etc.), to get me through that period. God bless the people in my life who put up with my cranky disposition when I am in pain!
Today's workshop was incredible because I'm at the point in my meditation and sadhana (spiritual path) where I know the incredible joy and bliss that exists in the world also exists inside myself. I used to think that I needed to be around Sally in order to feel that power. But, she told me so many times that I 'wouldn't be able to feel the power unless I had it myself', that it sunk in. It's quite amazing to be around an incredibly enlightened person and have them tell you that you already contain That which you are looking for. Truly, nothing is ever lost. What we search for on the outside can only be found on the inside. Everything else is transient. Sally's workshops not only tell us about this great Truth, but they also teach us how to tap into the place within our own hearts that contains the joy and bliss of the life-force; of the Self. It's so wonderful to experience the power and unconditional LOVE of the Self--even while going through pain, or while experiencing the ups and downs of life, in general.
Because I used to think that Sally had all of the energy that I wanted and needed in order to meditate effectively, I used to believe that I needed to sit next to her to 'get' that energy. Now I know differently. However, I'm still incredibly drawn to her particular 'form' of this energy. Today, I walked into the meditation room where the workshop was taking place, and I just walked around until I found a spot that 'felt right'. I sat down and propped my self against the wall. I closed my eyes and started to center myself. Then, someone tapped me on the knee--"Excuse me, but Sally stood in that exact spot yesterday while teaching, and I think she might want to stand there again, today." Figures...I found her energy even in the empty room! I got up and found a spot against the wall across the room from where Sally was to stand.
This was the most incredible meditation workshop I've ever taken because I could listen to the instructions with the knowledge that my loving energy was melding with the energy of all of the loving bhaktas in the room, as Sally led us all into the Heart Center.
So many of the practices Sally teaches in her workshops, and in her book Heart of Meditation, have become a way of life for me. They're ingrained into my being. I often find the mantra (Om Namah Shivaya) repeating itself over and over right behind the noise of my thinking mind. As Sally says (and I'm paraphrasing) meditation starts to show up in all different aspects of our lives. Being connected to the Self, the life-force that breathes us, gives us such power and courage.
My wish is that everyone will be able to experience this for themselves. And for those that already do, let your lights shine!
For more information on Sally Kempton and her book and CD, please visit http://www.sallykempton.com/