Saturday, 15 March 2014
Inspired by Dreamwalker’s post on of Sogyal Rinpoche’s meditation advice (see Spirit Train Chronicles here), I did a 3-part meditation that I found quite fascinating. I’ll continue to use this technique for a while and see what kind of results I get. If you try it too, I’d love to hear about your experiences here, if you care to share them.
Sogyal mentions value in taking breaks during meditation. Short ones that only last a minute or so… and then we resume our meditation.
This prompted the idea of doing three ten-minute meditations, with a one minute break in between. And for each segment, I took a slightly different focus. To me they feel like a progression, so I enjoyed the sense of going deeper during each segment, and finding continuity within the 32-minute exercise.
Each segment features a variation of mindfulness or vipassana meditation, and the object that’s being watched is an aspect of the mind.
As I contemplate how this world, life, emotions, thoughts, experiences all arise from mind, I like to wonder (or remember) how much of it depends on relating to it all through the filter of a mind that currently appears attached to a body also seems attached to a world. How much does our body affect our mind?
Last night, for instance, as I was falling asleep I was wondering: If we did not grasp at our bodies and panic at the thought of leaving them, how would that affect how we interpret the phenomena we experience every day? In a way, that’s the goal of the Yoga of Sleep: to practice dying so that when that time comes for us, we don’t panic, but choose where we propel our minds as we leave our bodies.
So I think this 3-segment meditation idea offers a way to step through different levels of consciousness, adding to our kit of tools for moving through life.
Here’s what came to me to try:
- In the first segment, I did a physical body scan, noticing what sensations arose from inhabiting a body.
The mind that is connected to, bound with at this moment, a particular body, observes what arises to the mind as a result. Remembering what it “feels” like to be body-less (physically, at least), what is the difference? How heavy does it feel where it’s sitting? What does the hair (or lack of it) feel like, covering the head? How does the breath feel passing through the nostrils, the throat and into the lungs? Can I feel my breath in my lungs? Does my skin itch? If it’s not itching, can it be felt? Can I feel it holding everything together? Can I feel my pulse resonating through my torso and limbs?
And what do I hear? Eyes closed… What do I smell?
Dispassionate observation, keeping the mind moving rather than becoming distracted by hunger, stiff joints or wanting another sip of coffee (OMG, you drink coffee while meditating!?!?). Pretending I’m watching someone else’s body – not taking it personally. Hmmm… so that’s what it’s like…
Then, in my 1-minute break, I got my sip of coffee. Fantastic! How did that feel going down? And taste…? Like Sogyal Rinpoche implied, here’s another opportunity to carry the meditation observation forward. Turn on the computer; it’s got 10 minutes to start up. Restarting the connection to “out there”…
- In the second segment, I did an energy body scan, taking the 10 minutes to observe what appeared energetically, compared to the gross physical sensations.
This was tricky for me, because I’ve always felt quite self-conscious about detecting my chakras and meridians. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time on this kind of meditation to be able to distinguish them clearly. Where others describe wheels and flowers and spinning at the main chakras, I tend to get imagery and sensations that feel more like a bustling city, a deep ocean, a placid meadow, or an atomic bomb going off. This morning my left arm’s main meridian felt like a flat wide ribbon of many-colored bands, almost like ribbon-candy, streaming with flashes and currents of life. It was kind of cool, but I was a little distracted by looking for something more conventional.
But I’ll just let that go, and ride the ribbon-candy highway. I’ve about decided my anatomy’s not really human after all (she says humorously), so who knows, maybe it was a valid image…
Second break: more coffee, start up my programs on the laptop. Taking things in gradual steps seems to be a nice theme lately.
- In the third segment, I went searching for the Guides I connect with, and other “entities” I have come across at times. Where do they reside within my mind?
I tend to describe these energies, awarenesses, personalities that as being somewhat, somehow, separate from myself in terms of this world, body, space and time. I prefer to attribute them this way because it helps me organize, you might say. I carry a recognition that Heruka’s mind and mine share a lot of “space”, but it’s easier for me to hear His “words” as “His”, so that I’m not caught up in editing them as they arrive. If I thought they were mine, my goodness I don’t think I would ever post anything.
However, I often use a pendulum when I’m connecting. It acts as a filter to help me tune out the other (sometimes riff-raff) that also pops up from time to time.
This morning was the first time I’ve gone “looking” for Heruka by just sitting in meditation. I was also inviting whoever else wanted to show up – within reason. I didn’t want to receive information or ask questions – I just wanted to sit with “them”, perhaps get a new kind of glimpse or insight. Again, looking for that dispassionate observation. Just watch, without getting swept away into words or imagery. I wanted to notice how they arose.
This segment went very differently than the other two. It seemed there was nothing to hold onto, to identify and follow. I could sense lots of different “presences”, just sort of drifting around, but no clear “object” appeared (at least not in a conventional sense). In a way, that made this segment the most compelling of all; I feel left with a challenge, and I really want to get to the bottom of it.
When I arose from the meditations, I found that they stayed with me throughout the day more than my meditations usually do. I tend to attribute that to my being more personally curious about the objects than thinking there’s anything coming out of the meditation per se. But perhaps that’s all the same thing…
Postscript: Tuesday has arrived. I’ve tried this technique twice more, and find that it’s different each time. So for now, it feels like a nice journey to embark upon, at least for a little while. I’m still getting some very unusual perceptions whenever I’m looking for how things appear, especially my Guides.
I’m also noticing how much I presume about sensations and perceptions, based on what I’ve read about or learned in school. I’m using this technique to explore more of what it might be like to just land in a world and a body without acclimation, and try to detect, for instance, how the sound of what I consider to be the call of a bird, becomes just that, rather than random data flowing into the brain through the senses.
Mind is still a mystery. Thank goodness.