This afternoon I took a different kind of trip. I traveled faster and farther than a plane could take me. Through a guided spiritual meditation with Xixi Sky, I went from laying in bed with my eyes closed to seeing an aerial view of rolling green and yellow fields. I went higher until I could see the blue of the ocean and land laid out like a map below. My visualization zoomed out further as I floated surrounded by bright planets and stars. This part was entirely guided. After that, I was instructed to push my invasive thoughts and worries down into a black hole. Then I was left in peace with Xixi on the other end of the line meditating with me. There was silence, but I continued to feel a tethered connection as we shared the same line of concentration.

I have experienced this feeling in other day-to-day situations without realizing it- hunkered down in a football stadium with all the fans tuned into a singular focus. Outside of the beer, sweat and vendor smells, beyond the noise, there is a collaborative vibration of excitement. Sitting in a place of worship, I have sensed a similar current of energy. Although usually a more peaceful setting, but there is that same shared determination harnessing the concentration.

I have meditated independently, but get irritated by distracting thoughts and sounds. Without accountability to another person I am unlikely to stay the course and sit still long enough to achieve anything. I have tried meditation in a group setting also. Countless times I sat with my legs twisted beneath me uncomfortably in a yoga class while trying to forget my worries with 20 other spandex-clad people.

This time, I blocked out the external distractions by putting on my comfy headphones which helped make the experience more private. Xixi’s voice spoke softly in my ear, directing my visualization. Having that one-on-one focused attention held me accountable today. As comfortable as I was meditating from home, in my own bed, I knew I could not fall asleep because I was focusing with another person. We shared the same goal of actively pushing our burdens down the black hole.

My personal visualization was full of moving elements. Images of cascading frothy blue and white waterfalls flowing from multiple sources of water swirled together in downward momentum. There was a misty fog-covered lagoon with an infinity of large green-gray land arches sprouting from the water. Next, a deep purple scaly tunnel swirled toward a distant opening with just a peep of light on the other end. This part reminded me of the volcanic tunnels that naturally occur in Hawaii, but with more vibrant colors texturing the geometric patterns throughout. I was surprised when the image of a hawk-like face with golden eyes appeared. It did not have a ferocious stare; it was intense, wise and present. That’s where was in my own visualization when the session came to a close.

Xixi’s voice brought me back and we discussed how the journey went. I shared my hang-ups on the process; I was trying to hang onto every detail so I could bring it to our discussion afterward. I was not able to let go or relax as much as I wanted to this first time. My endless to-do lists and schedule cluttered my concentration. With practice, I am hopeful I can learn how to block out the noise and settle more quickly into a peaceful state of mind.