Amenamaste – By Haley B. Jones Chiarmonte

She woke up quietly, tip toed to the end of her bed, and things went silent. The cool ocean breeze from the bedroom window brushed across my face as I pretended to sleep. I kept anticipating her next move; the shower turning on, steps around the house, breakfast being made, but I heard nothing. Silence. It was just a few moments later that I heard a slight shift near the end of the bed and I understood. My girlfriend Jen was meditating.

After she was finished and walked out of the room I dragged myself out of the covers behind her and started asking questions. I wanted to know how she achieved such a state of mind, how long she had been doing this, where she bought the soft pillow to sit on and the cool metal emblems she held in her hands while she meditated. The feeling in her room that morning was so peaceful, I wanted to know how to relive it. She gave me all the basics, but struck me with a comment that I’ve since thought a lot about.  Jen told me that before she starts mediating, she prays.

“Like, to God?”

“Yeah, to God, the Universe, whatever you believe in.”

Childhood memories of my mother immediately came to my mind. Waking up before school and peeking into her room, observing her on her knees whispering to God. To this day I love that sound, the stillness and peace coming from those quiet whispers. I’ve experienced prayer and meditation in different ways, but never incorporated them together. Call me naive, stubborn even, but I stopped praying when I left my church as a teen. Prayer has been a bit taboo for me since then. Why do it if I’m not religiously affiliated and who should I “whisper” to? All of that was answered this past weekend as I witnessed my good friend praying and meditating at the same time.

This morning I tried it. Before trudging over to the coffee pot like I would normally do, I sat in front of a big window looking out into the world. Crossing my legs, closed my eyes, and with my hands in a meditative position, I prayed. I gave gratitude for the world in front of me; my friends, family and husband. I expressed my appreciation for the guidance I’ve been given throughout my journey, then asked for an open heart and a quiet mind. I whispered, “Amen” and began meditating, ending it with a reverent bow towards the ground and a quiet, “Namaste”.

The experience was uplifting, soothing, energizing and fulfilling all at the same time. I laugh a little when I think about my  failed attempts at meditation in the past. I was missing prayer. I went back to the many years I prayed as a child, feeling disconnected from what I was saying, not knowing the intention behind it.I was missing meditation. I smile as I recognized this new revolution of thought, that religious or not, prayer and meditation make a beautiful couple.

Tomorrow morning, I plan on starting my day the same way and I challenge anyone reading to join me. Before settling into your normal routine, find a quiet place in your home, away from the kids or distractions. Start with a prayer and ask for silence of the mind. Then meditate and observe.

I’d like to thank my friend Jen for our “girls weekend” and opening my eyes to this new idea. Amenamaste.