• January 29, 2024

    Meditation is first and foremost a relaxation of habitual bodily tensions unnecessary for the physical performance of sitting quietly. These involuntary muscular contractions hold the personality and prevent spaciousness. They are the physical manifestation of identification and therefore the perfect place to begin the objective observation of self (selves).

    Can you sit quietly, notice your habitual contractions and ask your body to release them one by one? If so, your state changes and you begin to experience unordinary states of being outside the realm of the personality.


    I attend a meditation class in which everyone in the room is sitting on the floor cross legged. Outwardly everyone is looking quite blissful but my posture is not comfortable and I cannot relax while my muscles are screaming at me. What am I capable of?

    The first thing is that I must appear to be quiet and in agreement to be in the circle, I must contain my discomfort and objections. I think that this is a useful challenge.

    Mostly in life if something is uncomfortable I simply don’t engage in it. I get up and leave. In this setting I must try to find a way to endure it. I notice where the root of the pain is and direct my breath there to relieve what is becoming quite unbearable. Somehow, despite my expectation that this is impossible, I discover that the discomfort begins to recede and since discomfort is so all engaging, other thoughts and distractions have disappeared. Eventually, almost miraculously, my body becomes quiet. This may happen just as the meditation is ending but if I am lucky I can experience something on the other side of this quiet.

    At the beginning of this process I would say that the direction that relaxation takes is downwards, letting go towards the pull of gravity, removing my resistance to that pull. But at some point the direction changes and I feel a pull from above. That upward pull creates spaces, spaces between the vertebrae, a lengthening of the spine and neck, a feeling of becoming lighter and lifted.

    Knowing that this state is possible doesn’t necessarily mean that I get to skip the discomfort stage. Every time that I attend to meditation I begin at the beginning, I never know what will occur. I cannot determine or direct what will happen, I can only observe.

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