When Kris was a child beginning around the age of four or five years old, she often woke in the night with night terrors. I could sense her fear and anguish of something unknown lurking about her room. At some point she became so frightened that we had some problems getting her to go to sleep alone. I would sit with her, and when I believed that she would have fallen off asleep, I would rise as quietly as possible to leave the room. Occasionally, with the faintest of sounds, like a creek in the floor, those little eyes would pop open, and I would be chastised for trying to sneak out.
Over the years I have developed various self-calming meditation techniques to deal with my own stresses, anxieties, and phobias. One such situation occurs on airplanes when the turbulence is so bad that the plane is bouncing all over the sky; this can get extremely frightening, and there is absolutely nothing a passenger can do but sit in his seat and suffer through it. As much as I travel, meditation has become a routine method for me to get through such experiences with minimal stress. It occurred to me that maybe she was old enough to learn some of the simpler methods to help her get through this period of her life. In my attempts to come up with something a child could understand and do I actually wound up developing and refining some methods that were even better than the ones I was already using for myself.
I explained to Kris that God and our universe has provided people with powerful tools and protective devices to defend ourselves from evil, and the time had come for me to teach her about such tools. Anyone who wanted to use the tools could do so if they were willing to learn. One such tool I called “the invisible shield”. The way this works is the following:
When we sense evil or anything frightening in our environment, we first check to see if we can see or hear it. If we cannot, then it may be invisible, so the way we can protect ourselves and remain safe from whatever evil forces may be around, we call upon our imaginations and we picture in our minds a powerful shield that we place completely around our body. We see ourselves in our mind’s eye surrounded by this shield. Even though the shield is invisible and has been created by our minds, the universe will allow us to make it more powerful than any invisible evil. That is just the way the universe works. The shield will have whatever powers we give to it, the first of which is to block anything evil entering our immediate environment so that we cannot be touched by an evil thing. At this point we are safe from evil.
Next we work on our shield and we can give it the ability to allow anything good to enter, while still blocking the bad. We give the shield the power to analyze anything that tries to enter.
This process of putting up Kris’s shield became a nightly ritual. At first I put it up for her, then, I would simply help her put up her own shield. Before long she was able to construct a powerful shield on her own, and she was very proud of this achievement. I was amazed at how well the shield worked. In effect she had learned how to meditate as a young child, and it made a huge improvement in her quality of nightlife.
During the period I was teaching her this meditation technique I began using it more myself with excellent effectiveness. In airplane flights where I became nervous I would sometimes put up a shield around the entire airplane. On more than one occasion, to my great amazement, I observed something very startling. The first time was on a trip from Europe when somewhere over the Atlantic we hit absolutely awful turbulence. The plane would rise and fall by thousands of feet, and then pitch, yaw, and roll violently. I became more and more terrified, thinking, “Well, this is it!”
To calm myself I began placing a shield around the entire airplane. I concentrated on each extremity of the plane, visualizing a strong shield curving around the plane and protecting all of us on the plane. By the time I had examined each place in the shield to make sure it was secure, the flight became totally smooth, just as quickly as the onset of turbulence. The pilot apologized for the “bumps”. He expressed some surprise that it had come and gone so quickly, and he asked people to keep seatbelts on for a while just in case we had hit a fluke calm region. The flight remained smooth the rest of the way.
After doing this with similar results several times on different flights, it became a standard practice of mine in travel.
Of course one can argue that turbulence is always temporary and this is just my imagination at work. My reply is that all that matters to me is that it works for me in making travel more pleasant. In Kris’ case, it made her life more pleasant, and I was pleasantly touched when I learned that she had passed on the techniques to her children with similar success.