Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Meditation, etc.

The first time that I had ever attempted meditation was exactly eight years ago. My first course in meditation was not meditation per se, although packaged and sold as one in Mongolia, but pranayama yoga-based breathing exercises. After an hour and a half of physical yoga, we did a rapid breathing technique following which we were instructed to lay down. The exercises were strenuous, the rapid breathing ever harder, but right after the last exercise, I started growling. I can't describe it any better: the sounds coming from my throat were growls, startling to me as they were to people around. It was a deep and back in the throat, low sort of sound of a medium intensity. I asked the teacher later if people normally growled after the rapid breathing. She said people had very different reactions, from laughing to crying to even passing out, but she never yet encountered someone growling. I thought it must be my pent up anger, or frustrations, or whatever, I am weird. I left it at that.

I did the breathing exercises for a few more months before I learnt reiki with my friend who introduced me to her reiki master. That spring, summer and autumn of 2009, I was deep into various meditation forms while waking up and going to bed with a single thought "I must transition." It should be no surprise that I became more aware of my need to transition just as I began to do the meditations. At the time, I knew enough to understand that my desire to transition will not disappear in time, the need having grown stronger and more urgent as years passed. In addition, the news of my dear friend passing that spring was a true wake-up call to begin living as my true self, to finally begin to embody my soul through my body. All that year was about listening to myself through different forms of meditations and to realise, once and for all, that I could no longer deny or be denied my reality of a trans man. Unfortunately, my ex never understood it, her refrain always on the ready "But our marriage will be over." For a little more than two more years, I endured for the sake of my love, of our marriage for it's the toughest choice when it comes to trans people and our love lives: do we choose to become ourselves, or do we choose our love? Eventually, sooner or later every trans person chooses the former, and always for the better. As for meditation forms, I stuck with the Buddhist vipassana since 2011, the year I spent, survived and thrived thanks to the psychologist who was counselling me; I always remain deeply grateful for the mental health support I received at the time.

To go back to the meditation: the reason I am reminiscing the spring of 2009 is because I am taking up the breathing-related exercises again. While online, I discovered a great book about the breathing exercises and the connection of the larynx to the pineal gland/third eye. The very first exercises are about learning to use one's larynx to hum. And that's when it hit me what that growling episode was: the rapid breathing exercise brought about some level of activation of the larynx, hence the growling. And then it hit me again that I loved to lay down and simply hum when I was younger. The sounds were not Mongolian, though, they were very desert-swept, drawn and even mournful. The first time I went to India and heard the mosque prayer, I realised the tunes I had been humming for years were exactly those. So equipped now with a growling and humming history and with an intention to relearn all the meditation forms I had learnt years ago, I go forth. This will be an adventure of a lifetime!

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