*image via Nikki Jane
Reflecting on my life a few years ago, it dawned on me that though meditation was always a huge part of my life, I had never really been meditating!
Meditation had been happening to me.
What I now call Open Meditation has been happening to me since memory- when I played on the banks of the Alaknanda which flowed behind our house and lost myself in the reflections in its waters. It happened to me on my long walks to nursery school, as I crossed the stream, as I smelled the raw mountain mist meeting the morning Sun, or the Koels singing in the forests…it happened to me when I found a leaf on my way to high school, and placed it on my desk just so, mesmerized by its beauty. Needless to say, confused peers thought I was weird- and weird I was, joyfully!
It happened to me as I walked from all-nighters in design studio to long days at work…tired but awake. Alive, relishing the beauty of the day…tearing up at how beautiful the very moment was. I remember when I would lie watching storms moving through the sky, birds dancing in murmurations in the clouds, meandering through precious breaks between the intensity of design school with delight into pure conscious experience of being-
“So much beauty, so much joy…!” resounding within.
And it happened to me when I finally separated knowing and understanding, making space for what I knew in my bones to surface. Always curious, my investigations of the nature of my own experience intensified and seeped into waking, sleeping and even dreaming! Until, stillness within became more intense than any movement, and I found myself closing my eyes and sitting. A little bit, everyday, any chance I got.
I’d avoided formal meditation for ever. I didn’t think I was ready, but unbeknownst to me, it was already happening through me. I didn’t plan on it, but there it was…
Never an early riser, I’d wake up minutes before I had to be at work, get fully dressed and for reasons I couldn’t describe, find myself sitting quietly for the last few minutes before I had to run out the door. Eyes closed, the same stream flowed through me, just more intensely now-
“So much beauty, so much joy…!”
For a long long time, everyday, I would sit in overwhelming gratitude, as these words moved through my mind, and tears flowed through my body. I found a whole new world within…energy flowed in me, and not randomly! Light and shadow coalesced into pulsating patterns, depths I didn’t know I had, revealed themselves quietly.
In total surrender, I watched my self dissolve.
I let it.
Being with what is, that’s all. I didn’t apply any technique or method I had learnt. In fact, I wasn’t ready to learn from anyone just yet. I knew I had to, had to, go within.
That’s all “I did.” And in retrospect, this subtle difference between trying to meditate and simply being with my meditativeness, was key.
No agenda, no expectations. No attempt to awaken into spiritual enlightenment, no desire for being a better person, no trying to get rid of my thoughts, no desire for better focus or sleep or creativity. Nothing.
Just, being with what is- consciously, unconditionally. That’s Open Meditation- open to whatever may be.
When people ask me what kind of meditation I teach I say, I don’t really teach any particular method, but that I guide you in becoming meditative within yourself. That’s all. Along the way, we may invoke an in-the-mind or on-the-mind method, delve into the body or play in awareness…
but the underlying theme is always openness- being with what is, with no request for it to be any different.