Meditation: Past and Presence

In the past, I was intimidated by formal meditation practices that seemed elusive to me. They included highly evolved regimens and required developing a level of discipline that I feared I wasn’t capable of achieving. It was intimidating. I viewed people who were years deep into their formal practices as a different species.

I’m not a Buddhist nor a Hare Krishna devotee or a Christian. And the practices like Vipassana and Qigong that other friends were doing did not call me in a way that motivated me to dive in. Though I’ve extracted some elements from those formal meditation practices, my own path was leading me further from established modalities and regimented practices toward personal and non-person ideas of god.

Sometime in the early  90’s I found myself in Brazil and Peru where I discovered vegetalismo; the sacred herbalism of the Amazon. I sat in ceremonies with shamans who were working with sentient plant spirits. The experience opened the door to Krishna consciousness for me. I followed the thread and started chanting rounds daily and reading the Vedas, but wasn’t comfortable with some things that I found constricting. Still, it was a good experience in terms of a consistent practice.

A few years later I met a Chilean shaman in Iquitos, Peru named Miguel. He said something to me that I didn’t pay much attention to at the time; “When you get far enough along you realize that there is no god. You don’t need it. It’s just you and the love.”

His words came back to me later and wouldn’t leave. What he said was true for me. I wasn’t necessarily there yet, but as soon as I heard his words I understood where I was heading and it made everything fall into place.

I let go of everything I’d been doing except for Vegetalismo. The trans-dimensional meditations during shamanic ceremonies led me deep into myself and ultimately into the whole of everything. As a result, the process of integrating those experiences into my life is now my meditation. It happens in my conscious awareness and beyond to other realms that I can still access in my dreams.

Because meditation is the waking experience of my life, I find it best to ground myself in the morning connecting to an ever-evolving mercurial understanding of an intelligent guiding force and try to hold it throughout the day.

Not only has my meditation helped me to hold space for the recognition of my eternal soul in its human incarnation, but as I continue to draw daily from anything and everything that resonates, I find that I, now more than ever, meet those transformative experiences with an open mind to the future and a more focused presence.

Sam Slovick is a regular contributor to LA Yoga Ayurveda & Health Magazine, LA Weekly and The Cure List. Visit for more stories on alternative health and wellness.

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