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Megan McFeely

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Quiet the Mind: A Moment of Grace

Posted: 05/20/10 02:43 PM ET

"Unplugging" is what I call freedom. And it is the goal of my life. I left my corporate job, and basically unplugged from mainstream values and culture: buy, buy, buy and eat, eat, eat to feel good, good, good. (I do like nice things, but I am not driven to make tons of money so I can buy them.)

I found a teacher who is a person that can actually help me get free, to completely unplug, so I am working on it. In my practice they say that you are meant to "die" before you die. This means the ego goes. It unplugs from falsehoods. And what does that mean? Well I don't know exactly because I'm still working on it, but my definition of ego is all your beliefs, desires and defense patterns; cultural and familial conditioning; the stories we tell ourselves about who we are; how we hide; how we behave or think we should behave; our experiences and our history.

Sounds super easy, no? A real professional, Carl Jung, said, "By ego I understand a complex of ideas which constitutes the center of my field of consciousness and appears to possess a high degree of continuity and identity." What? To me, ego does not mean arrogance as in "she has a huge ego." Although the ego can have arrogance or be arrogant as a defense mechanism, it is just a behavioral pattern, I believe.

So back to freedom and unplugging. I meditate a lot. I try to quiet the mind, over and over and over, try to find that place of deep silence that one can get in a rain forest, alone -- that kind of feeling. No sound. NO SOUND! Breath, breath, breath.

Meditation is a practice. I am practicing. But I think that practice is not the only thing that will get you to freedom, to the quiet mind, to real unplugging and deep replenishing.

One day I was driving and I heard a voice say (it was not my voice and it was loud), "Quiet Now." And my mind stopped -- completely just stopped thinking, stopped trying -- but I did not lose my faculties because I was driving. There was total silence like a space in one's heart so big that the whole universe would fit in it. Enormous silence. And clarity. Things were so simple. It was breathtaking and I did nothing to get it. I was driving. I was probably late and thinking about a million things. I was probably even complaining.

I could feel my mind wanting to think, "Now why is this happening? What exactly is happening?" Amazement was there, but something would not let the ideas or thoughts fully form. I could watch them trying to form, but they did not occupy that space in my mind -- the space did. I tried to stay in that place and was successful for maybe 10 minutes, maybe less.

It was stunning, and it was what I call Grace -- just a moment given to a human being that lets them know there is something more than just them.