buddhism, death, Dynamic meditation, Impermanence, meditation, Meditation exercises, mindfulness, Mindfulness exercises, Non attachment, Osho, Pema Chodron
My husband and I have been meditating almost every day since arriving in Nepal (we are now back in India). Sometimes this has meant nothing more than lying on the bed and trying to follow the breath for ten minutes. Sometimes it has meant doing something we’d do anyway, but intentionally and mindfully. We take it in turns to ‘lead’ and we both feedback afterwards. Here are some notes… You know what they say, ‘Meditation- better than sitting around doing nothing.’
Ways to start
Three deep breaths in and out
Drop into silence
Visualise a spinning pillar of white light running through your centre. As it spins, visualise things and stressors that have stuck to you flying off.
Cut etheric connections (cut the ties) to anyone who comes to mind*
*This keeps you light and free and in the moment. It pulls your energy back into yourself which can be helpful if you are feeling depleted. It doesn’t mean you don’t love or care for other people.
Meditate on your out breath
This is from Pema Chodron’s book ‘The wisdom of no escape,’ which I bought and read in Varanasi, after a Sadhu told me to ‘pick a guru.’ What you do in between each out breath is kind of up to you, but if you catch yourself thinking, just say gently to yourself, ‘Thinking,’ and return to following your out breath.
Reading then sitting in silence
My husband read from a Buddhism piece: ‘A knowledgeable, logical mind does not help, because life always throws up new things. Be flexible. Be a mirror, not a painting.’
‘‘Don’t just stand there, do something,’ people say. No, Buddha says, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ First, learn to stand still. Then when you act you will be acting, not just reacting to having your buttons pushed.’
Then my husband read a story about the Buddha being totally immune to a crowd insulting him. It made sense, although the very next day I got caught up in the conflict I wrote about in ‘Every day beautiful, every day shit.’ Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Music came through from the balcony of the dorm next door, earlier, Nick Cave, ‘Into my arms,’ and The Righteous Brothers, ‘Unchained Melody;’ and during the meditation, Portishead then Morcheeba. The music belonged to Harrison, a twenty-one year old Australian, but it could have been ours.
In meditation I thought/felt: No time, no place, no past, no future. The timeless nature of travelling. Now India, now Kathmandu. No one else from home or past around.
Visualise a golden light
Spreading through your body, encompassing your toes and over the top of your head. (Although don’t get hung up if you can’t make it do this)
We started this by cutting the ties, and as I did this I felt myself rising like a hot air balloon.
I felt as if I rose up to my source self, merged, and then came down together. I felt as if I’d now be better placed to make decisions during the day out of awareness, and that that’s why we meditate.
Follow your out breath with your eyes open
This is more faithful to Pema Chodron’s method. With about 25% of your attention on following your out breath, the rest of your attention can be taken with being aware of your sensory experience.
I stared softly at a patch of carpet and felt the sun from the window on my arm. After a while my peripheral vision seemed to expand so I could see more. I allowed myself to shift my gaze, remaining focussed on my out breath.
Despite having been trained in mindfulness via work and having participated in a weekly therapist’s mindfulness session for years, this was the first time I had really understood why the instruction is given not to label things. Not to say ‘carpet’ or ‘dog’ instead, ‘colour,’ ‘sound.’ Even better, just experience or feel the colours, sensations and sounds without words. Because words are thoughts, or at least the beginnings of thoughts. Hear dog barking, label it as a dog, start thinking about the dog and why it is barking…
To be suspended between the out breaths and to just experience the world- the warmth of the sun, the sound of women talking on the rooftop opposite, the colours and texture of the carpet with no words, just for a moment…
Who? Who? Who?
We did this in our head, rather than the more traditional jumping around with hands in air saying ‘Who, who, who?’ (as in, ‘Who am I?’). It is a dynamic meditation from Osho.
This is who I am, just this.
Follow breath, focus on area of pain
The breath and the pain may be in separate places at first, they may come closer and merge during the meditation.
Meditate on the nature of impermanence
All the places we’ve stayed. Transient friendships. Could you survive like that? People we met do. The more secure and independent you become, the less comfort you need. Old friends would be your joy, the icing on the cake.
I thought, Detach from body, let it run itself.
Meditate on that we and everything is/are made of the same stuff
Extremities tingling and dissolving. Caterpillar to butterfly analogy: Dissolve, Rebuild, Dissolve, Rebuild…
Meditate on your own death
We started off by cutting the ties. The etheric connections were like sinewy fleshy tendrils coming out of me, I would have needed a saw to sever them.
I concentrated on pulling back the energy from the world into my root. Then the energy rises up through my body and out the top of my head and beyond, into another realm. I thought that is probably what happens during death.
Non attachment therefore helps with the process of death.
We’ve both been ill, so sometimes we’ve cheated a bit. I read one of my just made blog posts aloud and my husband listened to it. He stayed mindful throughout. I got distracted a couple of times with corrections, and with worrying that my reference to thoughts of suicide and self harm would upset him.
(As the sun is going down, at the point at which it is low enough to be safe to look at)
This was over the sea at Papanasam beach, Varkala, Kerala, India. The sea looked glossy and pearlised under the setting sunlight. The instructions from my husband were to focus on absorbing the sun’s energy and hopefully help heal any ailments.
This was mine, another kind of cheat one, we’d missed the morning’s meditation as we’d got up early to go out, however it turned out to be a good one.
Walk from guesthouse to the restaurant, keeping in contact with each step, each breath, even if we have to speak to someone because to not do so would be rude.
No one spoke to us, except to try and sell us stuff, a smile and a wave of the hand, I might have said No thank you, sufficed.
It was amazing how powerful it felt to walk along like that. It was almost as if we were in another dimension, like walking about on drugs. The close company of breath and footsteps felt almost magical.
Thank you very much for reading!
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I had never heard: meditation – better than sitting around doing nothing and it made me laugh for the simplicity and truth of it! Have you ever attended a retreat and would you? It is so great that the two of you are in the journey together even though of course it is a highly personal way!
Hi, yes I have been on a retreat with the Norwich Buddhist Centre, it was in North Norfolk at a windmill. I wrote about it in my book ‘How to find Heaven on Earth, love, spirituality and everyday life’ which is on Amazon UK for about £1! It was in March 2010 and it was a really great experience. I went by myself, later my husband went on one by himself. It was affordable and very beneficial. Thank you very much for reading and commenting.
I enjoyed this a lot. It was so informative and nicely written. Every form of meditation you wrote about today seems to have a purpose. Meditation is not entirely new to me, I got the idea from my high school girlfriend and over the years I have found opportunities to use what little I know. However, I’ve never had an interest in reading about meditation. Obviously I should have, because now I’m really am anxious to try a few of your tips!
I do meditate in my own way, and suddenly I realize I regret never talking about it with my daughters. Why have I kept this to myself? I wonder how open they’d be? I would like to share this post with them and see what they think. They live very distracted lives and I have no clue if either of them has ever tried it. Your post provided some interesting insight into you and your husband’s world. I think it’s great that you share meditation tips with each other. Thanks, Rachel! Des
Hi Des, thank you for reading and commenting. At least in the UK, learning mindfulness which is a type of meditation is now fairly mainstream and probably wouldn’t be considered that strange a topic to bring up, depending on one’s environment. There is so much information out there about mindfulness and meditation. In the UK one of the easiest things is to go to a drop in meditation class or do a course at a local Buddhist Centre, which are widespread. I’m glad you found this interesting. I am sure you are naturally meditative when you write or walk the dogs but making a dedicated time just for meditation can be really beneficial.
I think you’re right. Thanks Rachel.
Found this post really interesting! So cool hearing about the different forms of meditation people use. Spiritual practice is so highly individual but at the same time there are aspects we all seem to share. 🙂
Thank you very much for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it.
Adie // The Cupcake Witch said:
This is a great post! Meditation can seem intimidating at first, but this really offers a lot of helpful advice!
Thank you very much Adie!
Wonderful write-up. Besides other methods, I too have been doing ‘SUN GAZING’ in the morning time only. The results are really phenomenon – various colours – transformation from red to yellow, blue and green – WHAT A SIGHT….Just out of this world experiences. It lasts long. But it should not be done just for fun.
Sounds amazing! Thanks very much for reading and commenting.
My pleasure. Regards
Meditation, how you define is something different. Never heard of that. Invite you to check about meditation at https://tantraplusyoga.wordpress.com
No shortage of methods there!
Thank you! And thank you very much for reading and commenting!
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