ColumnsThe Seeker

The Seeker: Searching for a Positive Outlook

A dive into darkness

Katie Grant (Photo by Lauren Mazzella)

A greatest fear of mine may be living a life that is subpar to my fullest potential and simply existing in a plane of mediocrity — living but not thriving, a plant that doesn’t bloom due to insufficiency … feuille-morte.

I’ve been applying to graduate schools and if you are familiar with this process you too may have experienced the post-grad doldrums; talk about highs and lows. Making the decision to apply gave me a renewed sense of purpose, almost like a high — a side effect I was not expecting at all.

Another emotional wave I didn’t consider? The grief and angst that follows receiving a rejection letter — the “after carefully reviewing your application we’ve decided to move forward with candidates that may be a better fit for this particular program” letter.

It’s an existential angst that is hard to articulate and also a little difficult to talk about. So many of us attach success in our career to our identity that we lose sight of our true Self. But what is the true Self?

According to Yogapedia, “There are two parts to the Self. The first is the lower Self, or ego, which consists of the temporary body, the five senses, changing thoughts and opinions. The second is the higher or true Self, and is the essential core of a person that is unchanging.”

The latter is what I want to reconnect with: the Atman, which can be described as your higher self or soul.

People meditate for many reasons, including as a way to calm down, lessen physical pain or loosen mental loops, but we also all meditate for the same reason: to feel psychologically lighter.

Because meditation is a pathway to a heightened state of awareness or point of focus, it’s my go-to when I need to release my grip on the day or look for a solution.

The Collective Good, a new destination in the Cherry neighborhood that offers curated goods and wellness services, offers group meditation sometimes. Since it can be challenging to meditate at home (Do the dogs have water? I should check in with work. Is it too late for another cup of coffee?) I find it easier and have a better overall experience through guided meditations elsewhere.

Walking through the door of The Collective Good, I immediately find myself in the promised land of consumerism; house plants, jewelry, candles abound!

“Stay focused,” I remind myself. “You’re not here to shop.”

Through a short hallway sits the meditation room, a dimly lit space with ample floor cushions, wall tapestries and a colossal house plant. I immediately feel at home.

Settling comfortably onto the floor (I prefer to lay down during meditation), I close my eyes and sink into my surroundings. I even keep my eyes closed while the guide introduces herself, ready to be lulled into a deep meditation.

Our guide leads me and a few other attendees into a peaceful meditation paired with “Solfeggio frequencies.” I am familiar with this type of music but not so well that I can articulate it into words, so I’ll let someone else take the lead.

According to Attuned Vibrations, “Solfeggio frequencies make up the ancient 6-tone scale thought to have been used in sacred music, including the beautiful and well-known Gregorian Chants. The chants and their special tones were believed to impart spiritual blessings when sung in harmony. Each Solfeggio tone is comprised of a frequency required to balance your energy and keep your body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony.”

Benefits of Solfeggio frequencies include deep relaxation, feeling more grounded, brain hemisphere balancing (like binaural beats, which I often listen to while working or writing), and clearing fear or grief to name a few. They are also said to transmute negative emotions into more positive feelings like joy. 

I’d like to kindly request more joy from the universe, please! As someone on the precipice of a life-altering path (if I get into grad school, anyway), I fret over my life’s purpose, or dharma. This theme showed up during my meditation in a menacing way; dark, contrasting colors and a burnt umber tunnel filled with smoke and general malaise overshadowed my mental journey.

Afterward, our guide reassured me that spring is a time of renewal and that it’s OK to take a break. To me, this means pressing pause on 12-hour workdays and reminding myself that no one else is pressuring me to perform, perform, perform other than myself. I nodded in comprehension through my tears.

She also went full life-coach on me and advised that I double-check my outlook on life (it’s mostly overwhelmed and negative), which can make a world of difference.

If I’m lost in the woods, do I view it as such, or do I realign my thinking to see it so any step is in the right direction? Whatever keeps me out of the tunnel.

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