Meditation has been a pretty active part of my life for a number of years…and no, it isn’t a misuse of terms to say active. I have, until recently, never been able to find the practice that brought me deep enough into myself to silence my monkey mind.
My meditation practice would go something like this:
Sit and breathe (pranayama). Singular focus on breath or mantra…for about 5 minutes and then: Invading thoughts: what to make for dinner or chores or my pets that for some reason adore my meditation energy and make it a point to be around when I’m on the mat. Realignment of focus…for about 2 minutes…invading thought…Focus.Thought.Focus (dog licks ear) Thought.Focus.Thought. (Roommate blasts zombies in the face on videogame…screaming commences) Focus.Thought.Focus…Fuck. Meditation ceases.
So what changed? A lot as of late. The introduction of yogic philosophy and exploration of ethics (Yama/niyama) have helped to ground me in my life as well as my meditation practice. Previously, I limited myself to 2 limbs of yoga: asana and pranayama. Why you ask? Because my focus and energy was elsewhere. I was going to grad school and learning about all things archetypal and psychological. I “didn’t have room in my life” for more learning and to be honest, I didn’t care about esoteric religious traditions and how they defined the subtle body or ways to live in this world. I thought it was another desiccated religion trying to teach me how to live…
My thought processes have…ummmm…shifted a bit. There is so much symmetry between yoga and Jung that it was ridiculous for me to have ignored the links in the first place (I’m sure that I’ll be blogging about it soon).The reality is I needed to care to get it. To want to explore things like the etymology of different passages of the Sutra or ethics and observances as they apply to my life or Shat Karma (purification methods). Coming to this place, wanting to open up to a thing I had previously written off was difficult…It took a large life changing event and the need to embrace my practice more than just going through the motions so to speak that make me re-evaluate and reassign meaning. It has borne much fruit for me, especially in the realm of the self as it sits in the world.
My experience in meditation became more full and deep as a result. A month ago I began to engage the practice of the four purification methods, a breathing technique that cleanses the subtle body and aren’t as…invasive as other body purification forms. (BELIEVE ME, once I take on purification like Varisara Dhauti (vomiting) you’ll hear about it. There’s talk in my class about group Varisara…nothing bonds RYT trainees closer than group cleansing. ..But I digress…) The 4 purifications have been my vehicle inside…the practice is seriously like my mental heroin.
The practice shuts of the parts of me that NEED to be active and shifts them to the background.I was watching The Walking Dead last night (season 1) and there was this scene where they show a person becoming a zombie. The zombie disease shut down all parts of the brain save for the a series of red glowing synapse connections representing the reptile brain, that part needed for survival of the body. I was like that’s it! That is how pranayama practice has been for me as of late, zombie brain. Not bad zombie brain, just an ever growing process that turns off the parts of me that talks and talks ad infinitum until I give up and walk off my mat frustrated. The 4 purifications help me keep a singular focus. Sorta like zombies wanting the fleshy goodness of humans…I want a calm mind that could possibly maybe one day lead to Samadhi.
- How to Meditate Effectively (answers.com)
- Finding Silence (teachingsofmasters.wordpress.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Accepting the Way of the Monkey (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- 5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to… (psychcentral.com)
- Fascinating New Research on Meditation and Brain Health – Examiner (examiner.com)
- Meditation vs Relaxation (addictionts.com)
- Meditation is the magnet that draws divine power (examiner.com)
- Meditation to Reduce Stress (theaceofswords.wordpress.com)