Thursday 24 November 2011


What else happened in the Labyrinth, a year ago?  What was the other big big trigger?  Meditation.  Yeah. Meditation.
I used to try to meditate; I used to try really hard.  I tried all sorts.  Try, try, try.  But, hey, the trying kinda wrecks it.  It doesn’t have to be hard. Really. Just stop trying and be. Then it’s easy; it’s like falling off a log.

Now I’m a meditation junkie. I meditate all over the space, all the time.  Really, I’m a sucker for it.  Cos, see/feel/hear, you don’t have to sit in the lotus position and contemplate your navel (though I love that too and actually, it is kinda like the seven course gourmet dinner rather than the quick supermarket sandwich – but hey, both have their place).  Meditation is really nothing more or less than being in the now; it’s being everywhere and nowhere (baby), all over the Space, playing in Time.  Meditation puts you right with yourself and right with the world.  
See, I didn’t start meditating and breathing cos I was exercising and eating right – it was exactly the other way round. All thanks to my quasi-guru, of course. So, if you struggle with all the eating and exercising thing, I’d say – put it to one side for now – just breathe and meditate.  Do that and I figure everything out will sort itself out.

Every morning, when I wake up, I do a small meditation, a kind of ‘Hello’ moment of waking awareness.  As I walk the SP in the woods, I meditate by focusing on my steps, being a part of every footfall.  I often stop at the top of the hillfort and lean into my tree with a heartfelt sigh and breathe and breathe and breathe and feel my tree breathing with me and sometimes the whole forest joins in, the trees above and the earth below, and it is pure bliss.  And sometimes we all just kinda go ‘oh what the hell?’ and expand out and have a bit of a love-in with the whole fecking cosmos. And that’s usually when the dentist chooses to walk past and asks if I’m alright. J  And I go, ‘Yeah. Yourself?’  And he says, ‘Looks like a nice day.’ Or whatever.

This morning I stopped by the river.  Just stared at it, watching the dark shadows swarming; the little eddies turning water into kiss curls; busy, busy, busy. Knowing that underneath all that surface froth and fizz and fandango was a steady flowing, a deep knowing moving steadily, inexorably towards the sea.  All that turbulent whirling just like surface mind really, all drama and worry and angst.  I tell ya, I could have stayed there for hours, hours upon hours…
And, lovely thing, my dear online friend Susie whom I met for real in Israel, sent me a book a few days back.  It’s called God Makes the Rivers to Flow (Passages for Meditation).  She wrote in it:
‘I happened across this book in a 2nd hand store in Las Vegas & I knew it was meant for you…’
Eknath Easwaran, the guy that selected the passages in it (from a wide range of spiritual teachings) says a whole lotta wise stuff. Actually a lot of what he says echoes precisely what Marek says.  
Easwaran uses the reading of spiritual passages for meditation (see, each to their own).  On meditation in general he says:
‘Nothing is so direct, so potent, so sure… Meditation enables us to see the lineaments of our true self and to chip away the stubbornly selfish tendencies that keep it locked within, quite quite forgotten…’
And what does my quasi-guru say? He says...


No really, he does.  You can hear it.  Here.  Or see it. Hear.

The name of God in action (I AM), which I sang monotonously many times,  making my brain generate theta waves, travelled from my mouth in all directions. But it was carried farthest by the lake surface in front of me. It couldn’t be heard by the contemporary users and guests of the Post-Camaldolite Monastery, a gem of the local historical architecture, raised in the seventeenth century on the hill of a Wigry lake island (now a peninsular), over ten kilometres away. Though sometimes I felt as if the Camaldolese monks from the past were joining my one-syllable mantra with their chants and prayers. As if the difference between the present and the past was the same as between a meditation and a prayer. The former being a wordless equivalent of the latter.’

He says that when you sing AUM you enter ‘the universe of a quark’. And this morning, nudged by Ma.Ste. I did just that. In my study.  Just sat, chanting AUM until it became automatic, until I forgot I was doing it, the ending becoming the beginning becoming the ending becoming the... The serpent eating its tail.  And at first thoughts come up, as they do, but I just watched them and brought my mind back softly to the sound.  And then...I dunno.  Nothing and everything.  The boundaries of self dissolve.  Expansion and contraction. The universe shooting out through the endless space of a quark. Beautiful. 
Nah. Words don't do it. You gotta go there. You gotta feel it.  Okay? 


Sessha Batto said...

I meditate while making my tea, I meditate while doing my sword kata, I meditate while I write ;) Being in the now is, indeed, what it's all about! Another excellent post, my dear. I haven't chanted in ages . . . guess what I'm off to do?!

Exmoorjane said...

Ah Sessh...I know you do; I know you get this. But how telling is it that yours is the only comment? Kinda sad, huh? Cos it's so simple. And so beautiful. xxx

Zoë said...

I meditate a lot - Kevin calls it day dreaming - I am always doing it - disappearing off on another plane and loosing the world around me for what my mind projects.

Have to say the singer sounds and awful lot like David Bowie, same phrasing.

I don't chant, but I often sing - that makes me feel good. Maybe I should give chanting a go

Sessha Batto said...

You're right, Jane, it IS sad :( I'd like to think that, perhaps, many people are busy with American Thanksgiving celebrations . . . but I'd be deluding myself. It's amazing how many people have a totally incorrect preconception of what meditation is. Even more amazing is how many of them believe it is, somehow, foreign, pagan and more than a little sacreligious. I don't understand people very well, I fear!

Tattieweasle said...

I think I think too much to meditate and I'd feel too guilty to take time out to do it. Havingg said that I love the sound of the serenity esp. when my brain overloads...

Exmoorjane said...

@Zoe - I have a PhD in daydreaming! :) And I think singing is wonderful...I'm gonna post up something about another thing I do which you might find interesting. David Bowie? Yeah? I'll have to listen again holding that thought. :)

@Sessh - Most people think woo-woo or, as you say, associate it with religion. SO much research (really good stuff too) on how AMAZINGLY good it is for our health (quite apart from any other benefits) and SO simple. Yet...*sigh*... Nah, it's not Thanksgiving... relatively few non-US views also. :(

@Tattie - you might like the thing I'm gonna suggest to Zoe too...

F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
F said...

I'd have commented earlier, but I was meditating watching the washer swish the clothes around while I was waiting to swap loads.

Actually, I don't know if it was meditating. I was just staring at it and enjoying it and not thinking about anything. Which is a lot like meditation, except it's really hard not to think about things when you're trying really hard not to think about them.

I'm getting better at it though. I have a book that says you should look for the spaces between thoughts. That helped.

Alison Cross said...

Aha! I haz access to the comments box!!!!

Meditation made a big difference to my life. I learned the mindfulness of breathing technique and the metta bhavana (loving kindness) method on a 10 week course.

My parents noticed a big difference in me - and so did my work colleagues at the time. And I thought that THEY had changed lol!

I truly believe that learning how to meditate - looking at candle flames, watching a rain drop run down your window, whatever it is that you choose to focus upon - can be absolutely life-changing.

I say 'can be' cos you've actually got to Do It!

Ali x

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

So glad you like it.:-)

Frances said...

Hello Jane, and Happy Thanksgiving from the States.

Like many westeners of my generation, I first heard of meditation when the Beattles met up with TM and the Maharishi. I remember going to a TM introductory session and getting the feeling that I needed to give them some money in order to get their secret key to meditation. That did not seem quite right to me.

Around about that same time, I signed up for some evening's yoga classes held in a school's basement cafeteria. The teacher was a lovely person who really provided our class with good guidance. Some in the class had practiced yoga for years; others, like me, were absolute beginners.

She also taught us about meditation.

Well. That was back in the mid-1970's. I never took another yoga class (maybe, later.) However, I still remember all the meditation techniques she taught us and have practiced them fairly regularly ever since.

I am sure that there are many ways for a person to meditate, but I am very thankful to have been given a key that continues to help my own meditation many years after those yoga classes.


Katherine L. Holmes said...

I feel I've benefited so much from meditation. But it's hard to sit down to it, I don't know why. Maybe you won't feel it like last time. So this concept of attaining that state when the atmosphere is right - right on!