Something I've always thought would be interesting to do is a morning meditation in the desert, preferably in the cool of the morning. I'm not really into trying to find peace and enlightenment at 120 degrees. I prefer it cool enough that I can breathe and not feel like I'm going to drown in my own sweat.
Doing a desert meditation has always seemed a bit mystical. Images of John the Baptist, a camel hair tunic (no lice please) eating locust and honey come to mind. OK, so it's not all that romantic. But it does sound intriguing doesn't it? Well, to me it does; and maybe without the locust and camel hair tunic.
I love the desert, I always have. It's a great place to find peace and solitude. Not a lot of people seem to like to be out in the desert. But think it; it's never crowed and parking is never a problem. Mornings are the best time to be in the desert because it's still cool. Things are still stirring about before they go underground to escape the heat before it gets really bad. I did this meditation when my brother Tom and I did our adventure trip to Death Valley. It was part of our yearly bucket list adventure that the two of us do each year.
I found a nice sizable dune to climb up and find a spot to sit quietly, enjoying the calm of the desert. The air was amazingly cool, something I did not expect being in Death Valley. I have always pictured Death Valley as a place where gates of Hell vented their heat, making even the night unbearable. I guess I should have known better when Tom and I passed a place called Furnace Creek and we saw lots of trailers with old people lining the highway. Old people don't like too hot from what I've been told. But it was November and something I learned from this trip was that Death Valley really isn't too bad in November. That's definitely a good time of year to visit Death Valley.
Once I found a place to sit and begin my meditation, I almost immediately noticed that all around me there were several hundred quarter sized holes in the ground. I saw holes like this before when I was in Puerto Rico and I knew full well what lived in those holes. I was surrounded by hundreds of tarantula holes. This would have creeped my wife out to now end, but it didn't bother me much. I know enough about tarantulas to know that I was not in any real danger. If I would have been up there last night when it was dark and cold, I would have seen some action but by morning they are all tucked safe and sound in their holes.
So, I sat there and did my meditation for the next 45 minutes. It was really a very enjoyable experience. The air was cool and a slight breeze carried the smell of desert sage across the dunes. Occasionally I saw a bird land a few feet from me. I'm sure it was wondering what the world was this person was doing sitting there among all those tarantula holes. As I was seated on the hard packed sand, I felt the sun rise up over the distant mountain. As soon as the sunlight hit my bare arms, I felt the warmth tingle my body. It was not an oppressive heat but a gentle warmth that felt good. But it was also a warning of what was to come. I knew it was going get hot today.
What did I learn from this?
1. When in the desert, don't worry too much about the tarantulas.
2. If you're going do a desert mediation, did it in the early morning when it's still cool.
3. If you're going to visit Death Valley, do it in the winter months. You wont' regret it. If you
go in July, you will regret it.
go in July, you will regret it.
4. Finally, do it. Do the desert mediation. It was a great experience and definitely worth it.