My eyes are heavy and starting to close. Perhaps I'll let them, as I continue to type. Perhaps that's the best way to get this written. This is my third attempt today....
This is my third attempt to share more about yesterday's quadruple dose of meditation. This is my attempt to tell you how the day progressed. How I progressed. How I was struck with divine inspiration. Filled with an easy air of devotion that fueled me, propelled me into an 11pm yin yoga practice followed by my 2nd round of an SRF guided meditation on Peace, before drifting off to sleep. And the insights that came to me throughout the night and in the morning....
But sometimes it's hard to put into words. Or the moment passes. The moments pass. They're gone. Does it even matter any more? Does sharing it here, or elsewhere, do any good? Does it help anyone? Does it help me? Does it drive it in? Make it more real?
Yes. No. Maybe so.
Maybe I'll just have to break it down like this, provide a little structure for what feels so formless:
1. I woke up, rolled out of bed, opened up my iPad, clicked "play" on the SRF Peace meditation. I'd done this the previous morning too. What was different this time? It was easier to focus my gaze upward to my third eye, but couldn't consistently hold it there. And I kept seeing an image of Yogananda, a black and white image, and I don't remember seeing it in a book, in a movie, or online. He was sitting on some steps outside, his hair about shoulder length or maybe a little longer. Seeing him helped me focus, helped me relax.
2. I taught a Union of Three Hearts meditation class a couple hours later. And when I asked the students if they had any intentions for this meditation, they all said Peace. I smiled and then weaved the theme of peace in and out throughout the Sheng Zhen meditation, inspired and guided by my earlier morning practice.
And then? Then I spent the next several hours not feeling at peace. I spent the next several hours in some sort of time warp in which nothing was accomplished. And that's not even true. I did do some things other than stare into space. But the feeling I had was that it wasn't enough, that I should be doing more, that if I'm not going to do something "productive" such as working on my book or my business, then the least I can do is meditate, practice Sheng Zhen, or take it to the yoga mat. What is this resistance to doing? What is this attachment to doing? Is it my ego getting upset with me over this non-doing? Or is it my soul?
3. A bath and a long talk with a good friend helped me release these and other annoying thoughts in my head, including thoughts about isolation and loneliness on this path that I'm on, as well as questions about if I am spreading myself too thin with the various practices and studies calling to me now.... And then a few students showed up for a 7pm Union of Three Hearts meditation at my house.
The previous week, there had been a request for the room to be darker, so we tried that. And I don't know if it was the darkness, or the state I was already in, but I dropped deeper into my own meditation than normal while teaching. Usually when I teach, I enter into the Sheng Zhen state, a meditative state, but rarely this deeply. I kept my eyes closed for more of the time than usual, only opening them to check the time a few times instead of also to periodically scan the room and see what's happening for my students; this time I just felt into the field. I could see without looking. And truth is, I could always see without looking, but I didn't always trust it, and so I would look too... But now I know. Now I trust....
As for my own meditation experience while teaching, I felt the qi building up strong in my dantian. I felt the qi traveling up and down in the zhong mai between the dantian and niwuan. And then when the qi remained in the niwuan, this is where I went in the deepest.
I saw the cosmos within my head, within my consciousness. It didn't feel like the qi had expanded out and beyond and like I'd traveled out or merged with some cosmos "out there." No. This was inside of me. This felt contained and yet vast. And instead of pulling myself out of there, as I sometimes do when teaching, I simply relaxed into it, opened my mouth, and said, Allow yourself to get lost... in the blackness,... in this pure consciousness, or something like that.
It was awesome. I felt at peace again. I felt grounded. I felt relaxed but also energized.
4. But not too long after my students left, I went back to contemplating whether or not I have "too many" practices (and from different schools of thought). I read something online that made this less of an issue, something that helped me get out of my head and back into my deep knowing. Rather than quote it here, this is my own translation and elaboration:
If you are in alignment with the practices to which you've committed, if you know they bring you closer to God (Source, Spirit, whatever you want to call it) and in doing so bring you Peace and Joy, then you will gladly wake up earlier to do them; you will easily, and with pleasure, find the time for them in your day rather than feeling overwhelmed, over-committed, or too lazy or tired for practices and related studies.
And instead of just being words of some sort of abstract concept or "should," this time it was like a wake up call. Literally. I'd been fighting off sleepiness most of the evening. And although I felt awake right after Union of Three Hearts, I had come back down and was contemplating sleep instead of a late night yoga practice and another round of meditation.
But suddenly I had a burst of energy and a feeling of needing to sit and meditate again. Not "needing" in a way of "shoulding" on myself, but needing to because I felt a strong love for this practice and a deep knowing that meditating right before bed would be good for me. So I started cleaning my room to prepare the temple, so to speak. And as I cleaned my room, I noticed my body crying out, yearning for me to spend some time on the mat. I'd skipped yoga the previous day. And the day before that, I had cut my practice ridiculously short. So although it was nearly 11pm, and I am NOT a night owl, I found myself back out in my living room for a Yin Yoga practice.
I felt truly and joyfully devoted. I felt fueled by this pure love and devotion. And it felt amazing. So easy to drop into the poses and rest into it so late at night. And knowing that next I would get to sit and meditate? Yes, please.
5. So back to the SRF Peace meditation....
This time, this third time, was even easier. And several times when I brought my attention back to my 3rd eye if my attention had wandered, especially if not picturing it as a blue circle with a star in it (the image described on SRF's site), but instead just seeing more of an actual eye there, I felt little jolts of energy pass through my spine.
I also saw that same image of Yogananda from the morning, but this time in sepia instead of black and white. An image of an old Chinese sage came in a few times too. And then I was surrounded; in my room I felt the presence of deities and avatars from all these various traditions. I was not alone. This was especially significant in that earlier in the day, I'd been noticing a lot of feelings and thoughts regarding loneliness, and specifically the words I'd heard from others so many times regarding spiritual path: "It's a lonely path."
Part of me wants to say Bullshit. You are never alone. And the more you meditate and feel this sense of connection to the divine and a sense of Oneness with all, the less lonely you will feel. But.... There's a "but" here that is too much of a tangent to get into right now. So perhaps I'll return to this topic another time....
For now, I just want to wrap up this longer-than-usual blog post by saying that I woke up a couple of times in the night with some deep insights that weren't just thought in my head, but felt in my body. Deeper understandings about being part of the cosmos and about "not being your body." This statement "you are not your body" has actually often bothered me a lot over the years, but last night it didn't. Last night I got it on a different level. And getting that resulted in some insights about desire. Attachment. Suffering. Peace. All that good stuff.
I want to write more about this "not your body" thing and what followed from there. But I make no promises. We'll just wait and see if inspiration comes for a follow-up post....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
This morning, and yesterday morning, I started my day with seated meditation. But not my usual Sheng Zhen meditation, not Union of Three Hearts..... No, this was something else.....
I've been reading, or more like devouring, Autobiography of a Yogi over the past couple of weeks. I grew up seeing this book in my house, in my dad's study, the cover rather than the spine facing out, displaying Yogananda's beautiful, androgynous face and kind, penetrative gaze. I was always drawn to it, and thought he looked familiar, like family. Was I related to him?
Despite this feeling of connection and all of my spiritual studies over the years, I never felt compelled to read this book. Until now. Thanks to a friend who came more fully into my life after several weeks of a voice inside whispering, Yoga. That's what you need.
And that's what I got. First with a recommendation of The Ultimate Yogi to get back on the mat, and then to read Autobiography of a Yogi. I'm only on page 175 or so of 550, but so far, all of the gems contained within feel familiar to me. And it feels peacefully exciting, like coming home, and like, Yes, I get it. And of course I'm reading this now; I need these reminders, and in this form....
So yesterday I watched the videos about meditation on the Self-Realization Fellowship website, and then experienced my first SRF meditation by following along to a 15-minute guided meditation on Peace. This morning I also chose Peace. And it was already easier the 2nd time around.
One of the main differences in this style of meditation and the meditation with which I'm familiar is focusing your gaze upward to the third eye. I do have some experience with this, but it is not part of Union of Three Hearts, which has been my primary seated meditation form for years. So yesterday morning, I found this challenging. I wasn't straining, but it felt strange. I also had to be more mindful of sitting totally still, rather than allowing some gentle movements in to help my body relax-- this was made easier though thanks to a relaxation technique shared in the beginning of the guided recording. And I realize now, as I write that that I don't want to get into the details here of how this meditation differs-- I'm too new to it anyway to accurately describe.... Best to go straight to the source.
So this post is just a little background, as reference, along with the links to check this out on your own, in case you're curious as I share more about my experiences with SRF guided meditations over time....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Holistic Health Coach and Mentor specializing in women's sexuality and spirituality, as well as trauma recovery. She is also a Sheng Zhen Teacher, Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Writer, and Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."