Today is Valentine's Day. I have no boyfriend/partner/significant other but I don't think I've ever felt more love in my life.
After struggling with meditation for months, I decided to try doing it outside after reading this article on grounding and I sincerely feel like I had a breakthrough!
It's the middle of February in Upstate South Carolina and it's pretty cold but I bundled up and went outside anyways. I sat on the grass between the big slope and the creek behind our house. I set my iPhone timer for 16 minutes (one minute to get situated and the rest for actual meditation) and assumed the stereotypical, cross-legged position, facing the few trees that are left of the former forest I grew up with.
I closed my eyes and felt all the things. I felt some kind of energy that I believe emanated up from the cold, solid ground beneath my legs. I heard so many sounds. Nothing unusual, just the breeze blowing between the naked branches on the trees, birds chirping, small mammals (probably squirrels and/or chipmunks) rustling through piles of crunchy, brown leaves. I practice Metta (or loving-kindness) meditation which I learned from a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. All you have to do is sit still and repeat something like I wish health and happiness for all living beings.
Once or twice I had some thoughts that distracted me but I thought they were worth remembering later so I pulled out my phone and transferred them from my mind to the notes app. And then went back to meditating and didn't beat myself up about it. After all, these simple little thoughts were just trying to get out for some fresh air, too. It seems like my senses were heightened but maybe it was just that I eliminated all the usual distractions and was utilizing my normal senses to their full potential.
But back to the grounding, or earthing. The idea of absorbing energy through the surface of the Earth seems to be hippie nonsense at first but there is some legit science behind it. Before we wore rubber-soled shoes and built roads and sidewalks and homes on sturdy foundations, we had a lot more contact with the Earth. The basic theory is that now, more than ever, we are bombarded with electromagnetic fields and all kinds of other waves from wi-fi and cell phones that create a build up of unpaired, positive electrons (aka free radicals) in our bodies. The Earth is packed with negatively-charged electrons that neutralize the excessive positive ones. So when you make prolonged contact with the earth's surface through natural ground, dirt, grass, sand or ocean, you create the connection through which these electrons can travel and eventually balance your electrical potential with the Earth's. There have also been some studies on inflammation, the immune and auto-immune response of the body, blood flow, mood and more. I find this especially interesting since I have an auto-immune disorder now; Hashimoto's, a hypothyroid disorder in which means my immune system is attacking my thyroid for some reason.
Read more in Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Personally, I will be listening to this audiobook since I refuse to endorse the use of Papyrus, one of the ugliest fonts ever created that has managed to become ubiquitous when it comes to natural product packaging, design and advertising.
After sitting silently for a while, I decided to walk around and find some nature made Valentines. In other words, rocks, leaves, sticks, bark, anything in the shape of a heart that did not cost any money nor come wrapped in a plastic package. I could have just googled some prettier and more professional photos, but it felt more authentic and I knew I could find some in my own backyard. I abandoned my quest shortly after finding two specimens since I was starting to feel the below-freezing weather at -2ºC, 28ºF. (Guess I won't be meditating hardcore up in the HImalayas anytime soon.) Ugh, I really need to build up my temperature tolerance after spending more than a decade in Florida.
So here are my final thoughts on love.
Nothing that society is telling you to buy is going to make you feel love or loved. No flowers or sugar or fuzzy or sparkly or heart-shaped anything is going to make you feel sincerely happy. You may attach emotions of happiness or love to the thing because you have feelings for the person that gave it to you but you don't love the thing itself. You may even end up resenting the thing or the person who gave it to you, for example, if you eat an entire box of chocolate truffles in one sitting. (It is widely assumed that calories don't count on holidays.) I would rather just spend time and energy together without the excess money, garbage, stuff and possibly guilt. (Guilt that you ate too much, that your gift wasn't good enough, or guilt that you didn't 'get' flowers like all the other women in your office.) I guess just like meditation, love isn't a competition either. When you win, everyone else wins too.