The following is a question from a student; ‘Which way should I go next’, regarding their meditation. shakti’s response is below in red.I’ve been a student at Prana for sometime now, and have been looking forward to asking you a question for the past while. Our paths don’t seem to cross at the studio, so I’m grateful for your question board here.
My question is regarding meditation. Specifically, what way should I go next?
I came on my personal meditation quite by accident, after having attended your studio as a rank beginner for perhaps a year. It was in the context of several transformative events occurring within a pretty short time.
After discussing yoga with my dad, he had shared that as a younger boy he would go bed at night and allow himself to become very relaxed, to the point of feeling like he’d “almost start floating from the bed” – a quite startling disclosure from my typically atheistic father. To me it seemed quite obvious what was happening. I thought on it for some months, then one night went to bed with my intent fixed. I closed my eyes, concentrating on my breathing and within no more than 5 or 10 minutes found myself high in the room looking down upon myself still lying in bed. Needless to say, this was a powerful experience that impacted me both personally and spiritually. But its also something I seemed to do despite myself. I never even considered any portion of what I did ‘meditation’ until a friend described it as such.
It’s been a little over two years since that time. There were several other experiences around that time as well, but shortly thereafter the more intense moments subsided. I’ve continued to explore things on my own - by meditating at home, remaining after yoga classes for some time with my own meditations, reading about various techniques, and creating more time in my life for these pursuits. The time I’ve put into meditation I have enjoyed and will continue with, but I’ve been very disappointed with any reading I’ve done regarding techniques or directions.
The books I keep finding seem to be written for people who are little more uncertain about themselves than I am, and I’m just not finding that they are offering what I’m looking for. I am VERY far from perfect, but in truth I’m pretty aware of where my challenges lie and I work on those areas in earnest each day. On the positive side of things, I’ve found Daniel’s yoga Nidra classes enormously fulfilling, and they seem to indicate to me that there might be some other avenues out there that I can pursue.
Is there anything you can suggest?
Thanks for your time.
shakti’s response is below.
You wrote: My question is regarding meditation. Specifically, what way should I go next?
shakti wrote: First let’s define meditation, as often people take its definition far away from its content for the sake of romanticism and dramaticism. Meditation means awareness. The practice of meditation is the practice of expanding our awareness until we experience reality as it is.
You wrote: It’s been a little over two years since that time. There were several other experiences around that time as well, but shortly thereafter the more intense moments subsided.
shakti wrote: So if you are aware of the smell of the grass on a rainy day, of the motion of the stars in the sky or of your breath as you lay in bed; it is all the same. The mind will evaluate the different experiences and score highly, the ones that are the most entertaining to the small self. This leads to expectations for a repetition of favorite spiritual experiences. Expectations will naturally lead to disappointment if they are not fulfilled. Trying to direct the outcome of the practice of meditation will limit the experience as one is trying to get something out of it instead of ‘being’ it.
You wrote: But I’ve been very disappointed with any reading I’ve done regarding techniques or directions.
shakti wrote: The reason for your disappointment is your expectation to find the absolute answer, truth, trick or tool that will get you ‘there’. Drop the books and move to your own experience. Observe and be. Drop all ‘aiming’ as it will just sway you away from the moment. Books are good as a start manual to assure you that you are not the only crazy one on this planet dealing with a deceiving mind. But you can not keep going forever and live off others’ experiences. People read ‘the autobiography of a yogi’ by the great yogananda and try to have the same experiences as he had. It takes braveness to take off on your own authentic spiritual journey.
You wrote: The books I keep finding seem to be written for people who are little more uncertain about themselves than I am, and I’m just not finding that they are offering what I’m looking for.
shakti wrote: The question is – are you clear on what you are looking for? Maybe by defining it precisely you will reveal it, as it is all already here and now.A Zen story tells about a seeker who traveled on his horse for many days through many countries, through mountains and valleys, to meet with a renowned master.Upon arriving at the isolated cave of the master, he got off his horse and knocked on the wooden door. The old master answered the door, asking the seeker what he wanted.
The traveler answered, ‘I am looking for realization.’
The master asked, ‘Why are you not looking for a horse?’
The man looked at him with surprise and replied irritably, ‘Why do I need to look for a horse, when I already have one?’ The master smiled softly and turned back to his cave, closing the door.
What a waste of time it is, to reach out for something when it is what you have and are already. It is not about getting realization; it is about revealing it.
I would like to share with you the response of Mary, our College Coordinator, to your email. She is a brilliant entity in an unordinary way. When I asked Mary what she thought your question was, she replied:
shakti wrote: Below are some questions that your words raised in her mind.
Mary wrote: Is she looking for a book to affirm what she knows? If the simplest instructions are good enough for Buddha, why not for her, is this ego? Is she caught up in evaluating? Does she perhaps just need to choose a way to meditate, and let it be? Would it help to tell her that she is ‘clinging’ onto the experience that she had at one point and this is one of the biggest detours on the ‘pathless path’. Possibly, it’s good to know that all is one – reading a hundred books that don’t resonate, might be what take her to a place of experiencing the moment, and this blog is just one more link in the chain. Well, all of these questions are a projection of my own confusion, but possibly it reflects what would be helpful to answer for her?