Since falling under the weather (or being “home healing,” as I like to call it), I’ve found ample time for meditation. Truthfully, I realized just about two weeks ago that my meditation practice had fallen to the wayside. *When I say realized what I really mean is already was aware of but decided to stop denying. So, in recommitting to the practice that has time and time again proven to better my life in all aspects, and genuinely make me able to be a better human being, I am recommitting to a deeper part of myself. The vulnerability that lies within silence, solitude, aloneness.
I just so happened to catch a cold over the weekend. I felt it coming on and tried to lay low but, as you read in my last essay, twas not really an option. Paired with environmental factors and what I suspect to be a furnace filter in need of replacing (some deep, far off intuitive signal I keep getting, despite the fact that I have no idea where the furnace is even located in this house), I fell right under the weather.
I keep using that grammatically incorrect phrase, I just can’t seem to/don’t want shake it, and in fact am growing rather fond of it. The sentence sounds a little to me like one of the adorably wonky ones my Oma comes up with, German being her native tongue. Instead of saying, “all of a sudden,” she has always said, “one of a sudden.” She also says things like “big times” instead of “big time” and a few others I’ll save for later essays 😉
Anyway, in addition to meditating I’ve also been podcasting a ton lately. It’s my new “grown-up obsession.” At least I think podcasting is a sign of maturity. Let me have that at least…
One of my favorites is the Rich Roll podcast. His wife, Julie Piatt, totally vibes on my same wavelength. I resonate with her deeply. Interestingly enough, she has created something called a humming meditation. Now, I’ve neither learned her humming meditation nor had I tried my own before, but I know that humming on the exhale was something I’ve felt strongly intuitively inclined to do in meditation several times before. I had once or twice, and we vibrate regularly on the exhale in yoga, but I hadn’t created a pattern during seated meditation, opting for silence (in perhaps some unconscious attempt for purity? I don’t know…).
Sometimes I get a little rajasic with my ujjayi pranayama and vibration slips out on its own. But never before had I pointedly made my exhale a vibration. Quite literally humming with each breath out.
Let me tell you…it is POWERFUL. Like I said, I have not tried Julie’s humming meditation, although I don’t doubt it’s powerful and fabulous and all things divine, just like her. In one of the podcasts she did mention focusing the energy on the heart center with each vibrational hum. Well I have always resonated with my third eye center, rather than the heart center, when I sit in meditation. Typically we resonate with one energy center over the other, and whichever calls to you first is your natural inclination. Once you’ve chosen a space on which to focus, or once that space has chosen you, rather, do not switch. This is the teaching of Swami Sitananda, with whom I studied yoga, wellness and Ayurveda this past summer.
(*If you are unaware as to which space resonates with you, try this little exercise. Sit up straight, palms resting face down on your knees, eyes softly closed. Take a few deep breaths, let go of any specific thought. Now imagine a gold beam of light radiating out of your body, radiating energy and light, warm and healing. Do you feel that energy radiating from your heart center, or from your third eye, the space between your eyebrows? You will feel one more than the other, listen to your instincts and go easily with where your energy naturally flows).
The philosophy is simple, really. Our bodies are made up of 70% water. Think about rattling a table on which a glass of water sits. The water moves. Ripples move across the surface. It is affected. The very same goes for our beautiful bodies. When we vibrate, be it a sigh, hum, yawn, meow, horse breath (blowing through the lips), laugh, murmur…we vibrate the sacred waters of our physical body. This interface between energetic and physical body is powerful and, especially to the more mindful folks who practice yoga, pranayama and/or have a meditation practice, the effect over time is palpable.
There are innumerable methods and techniques when it comes to meditation. I think taking it upon oneself to get creative is really something beautiful. I spent a long time thinking I wasn’t “good at” meditation, because I couldn’t quiet my mind, I couldn’t wipe the slate blank. Typical perfectionist approach, right? As if one could be “good at” meditating. It’s the most intrinsically natural state one could possibly melt into! It’s simply BEING. Being in the Self. It’s the most natural and easy state and yet, with the world we live in, slowing down and being mindfully still and quiet is almost painful for the average person. Including me, for a spell. With an asana practice, which in the Western world is most people’s introduction to yoga, comes a lot of energy, usually. For many, there comes a time when that energy stops satisfying. There has to be more… Enter pranayama and meditation. The perfect balance to an active asana practice (for those of us who have an active or vigorous practice, that is). Note also, not everyone seeks more. In our Western culture many are satisfied with getting their sweat on and then rolling up the mat till their next “workout.” It’s strange for me to even wrap my brain around calling yoga a “workout” but, in effect, it really and truly can be.
But getting quiet and still is where the magic happens. It’s actually the true practice of yoga, learning to quiet the mind stuff, gaining mastery over thoughts…asana is simply a tool to get the body there. To keep the body healthy and fit, and to frankly exhaust its resources a bit so as to make sitting for meditation and pranayama more natural (at least in my experience). With practice, we find ourselves wanting to sit for the sake of sinking into that magical pool of Awareness. The Awareness that is our true nature, our essence, but that we so often lose touch with in our day-to-day. That quiet space is bogged down by the often abhorrently deafening nature of the world around us.
I have to tell you, since taking up this humming meditation, I’ve found myself sinking more deeply into meditation than ever before. Seeing visions – because, common to popular belief, meditation is often not thoughtless; rather it is a state where thoughts are not plucked up and mulled over, they simply pass by, as if bobbing down along one’s stream of consciousness – and feeling them deeply in my core. Images and sensations, ranging from clairvoyant memories of past life experiences to this really tangible sense that the dang furnace filter needs changing.
So what’s the point of all this? Am I telling you to meditate? No. I’m not telling you to do anything. As the brilliant Joe Cross so aptly puts it, “no one wants to be told what to do.” I’m not telling you to sit and meditate any more than I’m telling you to start a yoga practice or go blend up a green smoothie. I’m simply sharing my experience, as is the nature of this blog, on my wellness walking path, ever seeking enlightenment and entertainment along the way. This practice has simply offered me another moment of divine clarity, but with an added bonus. This gift allows me to revisit the clarity, in different forms, again and again. Morning and night. Whenever I have the time. I find myself eager to light a candle and cozy up on my bolster, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket, eyes softly shut, humming or not . . . when I sink into that place, I am home.