Meditations on Meditation

Subtitle:  Oh, I am SO meta!

Image from kattebelletje on Flickr

Last night in yoga teacher training, we had a guest talk about meditation.  While I am not totally new to meditating, it was very interesting to hear it discussed, particularly from a Buddhist philosophical standpoint, since that is so in line with my own thinking.  As we discussed meditation, both the philosophy and the practice, of course my mind was drawn to my own experiences with meditating.  That made me think about the whole issue of locating the Self in a meditative practice.

Our guest lecturer, Jonathon, described the state of meditation as a sort of “looseness.”  You aware of your body and bodily sensations.  You are aware of thoughts passing through your mind.  But, you are a level removed from them – observing instead of feeling them. I like his utilization of the term “loose,” because in the moments when I have been in this state,  I do feel loose and oddly unmoored.

I also sometimes have a feeling, when meditating, that is sort of like a hall of mirrors, where one reflects the other reflecting the other reflecting the other reflecting the other to infinity.  I sit and I observe my bodily feelings and my thoughts passing (so, there is the self that feels/thinks and the self that observes).  Then I observe that I’m observing (so, is that now a third level, or is it the first level noticing what the second level is doing? but that seems impossible).  Then I observe that I’m wondering how that can happen (wait, four?  or is that 1 again?).  It’s funny and a little crazy.

Then I wonder if all of that observing and thinking about the observations is really meditation at all, or if I have absolutely lost the point.  And sometimes around that time I realize that something has changed and I’m not really observing anything, now I’m just philosophizing and thinking and I’m grounded back in the self.

But then sometimes, I can just be there observing the feeling and thinking, without generating a whole new set of wondering and noticing.  And in those times, I get that completely unmoored feeling and I am “loose.”  When that occurs it is like I just AM.  I can usually get to this point during savasana, but sometimes only for a very brief period right at the end.  And when the bell chimes or the bowl is rang, there is a burst of something (energy, life, flame, being?) that happens “in my head” just behind the third eye and it’s amazing.

Now the task (though that sounds more painful than how I see it) is to be able to reach that point more often and stay there longer.  Wheee!

What are your favorite tools, strategies, or locations for meditation?



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