So, I alluded to “big changes” happening on my recent pilgrimage to India…let’s just say, the “big change” is about the size of an avocado, but will end up more like a melon in a few months! Yes, the Matlock family will expand to include a new little life and we could not be more thrilled!
Our journey into family life started auspiciously on Yogananda’s birthday this year (1/5/2013). Though we had tried for several months to coax a little soul to join us, it had been to no avail…now, we couldn’t feel more blessed by the special day that this little soul chose to make his or her entrance into this world.
What an adventure this baby has already been on; going to India in the first trimester! Although I have traveled to India 2 other times, both for spiritual journeys, pregnant on this pilgrimage was an experience all it’s own. There were, of course, challenges on the physical plane that I had never faced before…extreme exhaustion, hunger, the urgent need to pee almost all the time. But, as most mom’s can attest, the fact that I did not have morning sickness was the biggest blessing in the whole world (besides the baby itself, of course)! I don’t think I could have done the trip if I were experiencing that dreaded pregnancy symptom.
Instead, I was able to focus on the incredible uplifting places that we visited and the effect they were having on our growing baby. There were many memorable moments on this pilgrimage, but one of the truly special ones happened in Kolkata, in the home of Tulsi Bose (Yogananda’s childhood friend). On my last visit to this sacred place, Hassi (Tulsi’s daughter) looked me in the eyes and said, “you bring your husband next time.” It was already my second visit to the Bose family home when she made her demand and she was clearly concerned that I had yet to bring him with me.
When we arrived, I could not contain my excitement to see Hassi again and to introduce her to my husband at last. The home is so full of Yogananda’s vibration that to sit in any of the rooms felt like the molecules of your body are being re-aligned to point you towards God. In a quiet moment, in the upstairs bedroom, I found an opportunity to tell Hassi that we were expecting a baby. She smiled enthusiastically, placed both her hands on my belly and closed her eyes to bless our baby. I felt great energy enter into my belly from her palms and a sweet sense of peace. When she opened her eyes, she smiled at me and said, “very happy baby, very healthy. And, if you want to know, I think baby is boy.” She smiled even bigger and I pronamed her in gratitude. Hassi was the first of three saints we had the privilege of seeing on this pilgrimage. Each encounter was very special and effected me deeply.
It is an interesting experience to meditate pregnant. It is far different than my usual practice and continues to challenge me. First, my ability to focus the mind is greatly challenged by a scattered feeling that is nearly always present – “pregnancy brain” is what most people call it. To center my energy, I have to do a lot more chanting and mantra techniques than before. I used to be able to slip into a state of meditative upliftment with a few deep breaths and a prayer; now I have to work hard to create the sacred space and get my brain to work with me and not scatter off…especially into Jala Yoga (union with food) – fantasies about what I’ll have for breakfast!
Then there is the challenge of keeping my concentration at the point between the eyebrows – something that has been second nature to me for my whole life…now my concentration invariably drifts from my spiritual eye down to my naval with the slightest relaxation of concentration.
Finally, after several attempts at meditating on the pilgrimage that were met with mixed results, I asked my parents about whether my experiences were “normal” or whether I had a problem. To my relief, I learned that my experience was very common among meditators and to take heart in knowing that I should adjust my practice accordingly. After that, my meditations on the pilgrimage were much more enjoyable because I stopped fighting to have the same experience of meditation that I was accustomed to, and instead enjoy the new meditation I found natural. It’s not to say I can’t do all of my Kriya practices anymore, but instead, I emphasize the parts of the practice that work best for me and do a little less (but with deep concentration) in the techniques that are extra challenging.
While I am still adjusting to this new style of meditation, the beautiful upliftment towards God is more present in each moment than ever before. There is a real miracle happening in my body right now and that is apparent behind each breath in every moment. What a blessing!
Each time I sit for meditation, be it on our pilgrimage to India or here at home, I can feel my baby’s spirit and the effect that this simple act is having on us both. That’s not to say it still isn’t challenging. My body is more demanding for sleep, for food and for comfort than ever before – all of which can get in the way of my practice. But, I soldier on and know that this is a wonderful opportunity to continue to grow and learn.
I am one blessed Mama and it sure feels like this is one blessed baby!