See how long you can sit in silence. Before you start,check the clock and guess at how long you can do it for. Then when you’re done: how close was your guess? Surprised? What did you experience while siting? Was it pleasant or frustrating?
I sat down at 11:03, but waited till 11:04 to get started.
I forget how time crawls when you are sitting in silence! However the experience was quite pleasant, and I am grateful for the reminder to stop and sit, as it has been on my mental list of things to do for some time now. & it is perhaps due to my neglect of stopping, sitting and breathing, that said mental list has been spinning exponentially out of control, while I have been getting little accomplished!
Well, you know, life has been happening, and that is all well and good – but as far as the list goes, I have not covered too much ground. I really just want to get my shit in order, you know? Clean up the messes, systematize the chaos – downsize the clutter? The standard set of 5ideals that so many chase their tails after…
I honestly think that meditation is a huge key to the accomplishment, or attainment of these ideals, at least in some form. & meditating really is as simple as sitting, and breathing. The trick is to stick to those two activities as simply as possible, rinse and repeat…
However, I have just as much monkey mind as anyone else, especially on a day like today where I have consumed the larger portion of a pot off coffee! Half-caff…
So I sat on my bed, facing the window, which looks out over a peaceful and beautiful hill of sage, jeffery pine, and fir trees. It has always important for me to feel a sense of solitude in order to sit. I have meditated with close friends or teachers before, but it’s just not something I can fully get into with random passers by.
I like to simply sit Indian-style – I have struggled with the lotus position for years, & I appreciate the technique, but it just hurts my knees and becomes a distraction, even in half lotus. So I figure that especially now, when I don’t have much of a practice going on, when I do get around to sitting, it’s best to follow the Buddhic rule of K.I.S.S.. Keep it simple, stupid.
I also used to hold the traditional Zen mudra with my hands, as taught by Shunryu Suzuki, which is a beautiful and powerful mudra… but again, I just don’t have much by way of chops these days, so I simply placed one hand on each knee.
I closed my eyes, and began to breathe – my main guide here is to match up the physical sensations of in and out, and up and down. This is actually trickier than it sounds, as when you breathe in, your ribcage will lift…however the focus is on the breath itself, which is actually traveling down, from the nose and mouth to the lungs… So in is down and out is up, which can seem very counter intuitive in the beginning, and a fair ways throughout the middle, and I might guess even gets lost on occasion all the way out into the end game.
Hence, the name, “practice”.
Initially, my brain was babbling on and on about what I was doing and how I would write it all down here in the blog – but I engaged another old tried and true practice of visualizing the surface of the sea… here your thoughts are waves, and you can either observe them as such, until they begin to loose force and subside, or you can also dive down below the surface to observe the peace and tranquility of the depths.
All the while, I find it is important to continue returning to the breath. In and out, down and up, the breath can be both guided and followed, it is your best friend, so don’t fight it!
My next line of observation, behind my closed eyelids, was the color red. This is a natural occurrence due to the light filtering through the blood in the capillaries of the eyelids. It was one of my first practices taught to me, to take that color and transmute it into a calmer shade of green.
This is done by breathing in the color green and then exhaling the red, I find I can kind of mentally clip a trail of green on the end of my in breath, like gauzy fabric on a safety-pin…and then the red is simply swept aside, so all you have to do is release the lower frequency tones…
So I’m sittin, I’m breathin’, things are cooling off to a pleasant shade of green and blue…now you can get even weirder and work with our energetic connections (!).
This is a theory I learned from the master artist & friend of the Faeries, Brian Froud, and his co-author Jessica Macbeth. They advise that everyone must discover their own method of connecting, which is quite true, but this is a pretty well accepted approach, that I have found repeated through various schools of thought.
It ties back in to the idea of the in breath going down, and the out breath coming up… As you breath in and down, you can envision that you have a tail…I love this game! And your tail can look however you like, the main thing to remember is that it can grow and shrink at will. It is always there, helping us keep our balance, like it or not, but if you start to acknowledge and appreciate the thing, it can do even cooler tricks…
As you breathe in, let your tail drop down, into whatever surface you are sitting on, and on the next in breath, into the floor or ground below. If you are somewhere unfamiliar, you might want to take your time with this, but I find that if I am somewhere that is peaceful & special to me, I can drop my tail, or root, pretty damn far into the Earth.
It is said that you may release your worries, your fears and other problems down into the Earth this way. Not unlike going potty! But the Earth, being a master of physical realms, can easily take yer garbage, and transmute it into fresh soil for better things to come. It’s like compost, only not so stinky!
Ok, so now we are centered, chilled out and have a nice long tail, now we can move back up! You have a choice here (among others) to work from the bottom of your tail, or from your own personal core, or heart chakra… Froud calls this next connection your wings, like the Faeries have, or it is also explained as a simple cord of light. This is where I think there are the most interpretations available for what the concept of the game is, but again – KISS, we’ll just refer here to the Universe…
Which is, by most accounts, up. On the out breath, the air, and your energy is flowing up…so with that motion, you are reaching up, into the Universe, and connecting with whatever benevolent energy you would like to place there. It IS there, whatever you want it to be, and it loves you dearly! Angels, aliens, Faeries, Buddhas, God, Jesus, both Marys…what a splendid party there is going on in the Universe today!
So on the out breath, we are reaching up. There is a concept of a greater Central Sun, around which our galaxy and all others revolve – I find this to be a good place for the other end of this cord of light to come from and go to.You breathe up (out!) and connect to the heavens, you breathe down (in!) and connect to Mother Earth. Here is the really neat part, I think, is that Mother Earth and Father Sky…they really love each other! There are a variety of stories regarding the fact that they have been away from each other for some time now – and they miss each other!
& you, in your little chair or bed, or patch of grass, with your little tail and wings, can be something of a telegram service for them. So as much as you can drop off your baggage, down below the crust of the Earth, you can also receive some knowledge or information from the planet, from her very sentience – if you are ready for that concept… and now, as you exhale, up the tail this message can travel, to you, and onward up into the very Universe!
And then, to whatever notion of higher power, greater existence you might hold, you can deliver this message. And now, from that source, you can attain a reply. I often sense this as a simple yet powerful notion of light and love (same thing). It is like a kiss from Father Sky, down to his pretty Lady, who he can’t quite get in touch with yet… (& not for a lack of capability, this is God we’re talking about here…it’s kind of like a game, or an experiment they are trying).
I often find it very energizing to pull down energy from above, and whether or not you want to play messenger, or just focus on your own personal being (which is perfectly fine…) I do think that anchoring with your tail is a very important component here.
I have gotten really high, with intense head rushes and internal bursts of color – from running these energies up and down. It is an interesting dichotomy to note, that one might hypothetically be connecting the very molten core of the planet, to a great Central Sun, father away, and greater in scope than anything the human mind can, as of yet, grapple with. & all the while just be a little hunk of meat, with breath.
So my next and nearly final theory here, regards that hunk of meat we each sit inside, and that providing the path for these energies to travel is not only a service to the way things work, but also to our own physiology… The center of this exchange is most securely seated in the heart chakra… Again, I like to work my way down first, to give my self a sense of balance… Descending down from the heart we find the solar plexus, the sacrum, and finally the root. These are where out physical aspects are maintained…sex, food, and survival!
I like to run the energy down through these three, giving them a good spin, and letting each release and gunk that has been acquired, down to be deposited in the interior of the Earth (it’s like pooooping…) I don’t rush all of this in one breath, mind you, just a gentile back and forth, like rinsing out a bottle several times…
Then back to center in the heart, give that chakra a nice spin as well, (breathe in – breathe out) and now work your way up, to the throat, the third eye, and the crown. In my experience, these don’t get quite so cluttered as the lower physical ones, but be mindful and gentile, letting them blossom like lotuses. I like to let this energy carry up along the cord or wings, to say hi to the source of things once more, before closing up shop.
I think it is important to come back to your normal physical self before you get back to washing dishes or whatever, as it is simply not convenient to walk around so open and extended – there is a reason this is all done sitting still!
So the chakras are relaxed and allowed to come to a rest after spinning, and (with gratitude) the cords withdrawn from above and below. I like to take a second to observe and be grateful for my physical being, and for the time I have been give here to play. I then like to bow three times to the Buddha – just a little habit I acquired back in the day.
With a final mindful breath I open my eyes…
& its 11:11
Make a wish!