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Archive for May, 2010

May 12, 2010

What happens when meditation works? What happens when meditation changes something that changes something? I continue to be amazed at the result of the being yelled at encounter I had four days ago. I stood up for myself in the face of a verbal assault of blasting energy. I think that reaction was only possible because of meditation allowing me to practice centering myself in the midst of my own storms. I have stood up for myself in this way several times in my life. Each time the result was literally feeling shocky for up to days after. This one the shock lasted for 27 hours.

But this time, four days later, I keep noticing that something has changed. Something deep has changed. There are fears that have been been working at the center and edges of many decisions and interactions that are gone. Just simply gone. It is like some well is finally dry. A well that should be dry. 

We all have our own personal baggage and bugaboos. Some of mine are several people who I have had difficulty being around in the past few years. In each case I was involved in a series of situations where I felt unheard, unbelieved about something that I felt was important. As a result I felt unsafe. Today, with the well dry, the residual difficulties seem to be gone.

In a smaller arena, I have a story that may be so personal that it may not translate. I have a history of being afraid of the machines at the gym. I have been afraid that I didn’t belong in that section, that I didn’t know what I was doing, that everyone else knew what they were doing, that I didn’t want to embarrass myself, that others didn’t want me there. Tonight, I walked over, read the directions on the side of four different machines, and used them. I know it sounds stupid, but it is huge. Of course no one else ever had or voiced any of those thoughts. They were only in my head. Others never heard the voices, now I don’t hear those voices either. Amazing.

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May 11, 2010

Wow. Did not think one lick about meditation or awareness today. What does that say about awareness?

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May 10, 2010

Calm. Serene. Left over anger, years old, is gone. Same age fear, gone. They must have been attached to each other. They must have been attached to whatever emptied, vibrated out. I don’t know what it is, but it has something to do with the craving for a certain kind of safety. I am reacting differently to issues that ran under many things, ran under interactions with certain people. It feels strange to have the niggling, underlying, almost constant fear gone. I pay attention to the empty places. We’ll see if it stays away. One has to be ready for impermanence.

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It took 27 hours for the ringing to stop, although my stomach, which hurt all day, still hurts. Ice cream for dinner.

Over the 27 hours, I hope I was successful at not creating any new disasters because of the emotional discomfort caused by the painful ringing and vibrations. It is easy to create new disasters in these situations. They are born of a naive attempt to squash or hijack the pain. They show themselves in stories of blame, injustice, and righteous indignation. I try to remember, if I allow myself to spin these stories, I will believe them. They will become true.

It is the stories that cause suffering. The trauma is pain. Everything added to it is suffering. Adding to the suffering creates a diversion. The diversion feeds the pain while it cleverly circumvents the mechanisms that take care of releasing the trauma. Creating stories has a powerful function. They keep us stuck.

In order to support allowing the pain to run its own course, I saw only people who would listen without adding to story. At the same time, I tried to say as little of the story out loud as I could possibility stand. I tried to let the energy just run, no matter how painful. Then I slept. They tell me when we let the energy run, let it run its life out, that it will never come back in that way again. That would be a blessing.

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May 8, 2010

When someone takes something that I did not understand, and makes me wrong, even when I apologize, I mean really apologize, not the “I am sorry that you didn’t understand” apology, but a “this is how I understood it, I am really sorry I got it wrong” apology and tells me that I should have never understood it that way in the first place, I believe them. Deep down I believe them. That I shouldn’t have understood it that way in the first place. That there is something unforgivable in me. And it rings in my heart and in my lungs and in my ears and in my chest and it keeps me from sleeping. And I wonder when will the ringing be over all on its own, because even though I philosphically believe that talking about it more may help, I have no faith that any tact on the conversation would lead to a different result. This is the hurricane that meditation is supposed to teach us to walk through and stay as upright as possible as the internal or external storm rings and rains. It hurts.

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May 7, 2010

I have spent the past few hours struggling to find a subject for the day. I tried distractions (emptied the dishwasher, reloaded), looked in a cryptic Buddhist text, (too cryptic). I soaked my aching computer-hunched back in a hot tub.

I am out of practice at finding a subject in the day. Now I have to search. When I was posting every day, I did not have to search. The topics presented themselves. They took over. They had their own voice and their own mind. It was like a meditation teacher described. He says that if you meditate long enough, you will be meditated on. It is as if the reaction after meditation moves in and hijacks a different reaction without the middleman of actually sitting down and mediating. It is a changed way of reacting that takes one by surprise. It is big enough to notice that without a decision, interceding, or controlling. You can stand outside and watch yourself reacting completely differently. It is amazing. It is awesome. It can be a bit frightening.When I was writing everyday, writing got meditated on, and it took me with it.

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May 6, 2010

I got an email. The sensory deprivation float tank place has closed. I referenced the sensory deprivation tank experience several months ago, but never wrote about it. So here is the story. A friend had been telling me about his experience floating in the tank. He kept telling me how much he liked it. I heard about it for several years. So finally, a few months ago, I agreed to try. I figured that with all my meditation experience, some time floating in the dark tank would be a piece of cake. It would be totally relaxing. It would be what we all dream meditation to be. It would be rejuvenating.

Well as you can probably tell by the set up, I freaked. Before we get to that, I have to tell about the woman who ran me through the introduction. She told me to shower in the beautiful river rock shower next to the beautiful white clam shell tank. She showed me the tank. 600 lbs of Epsom salts in the floaty water. She showed me the the three buttons inside the tank. One for closing and opening the lid, one next to it for turning the lights off and on inside the tank, and one, a red one, on the other side of the tank. The red button was in case of panic. “I will be able to hear you at the front desk,” she said. Should have been my first clue.  

So I took the shower. Incredibly relaxing under the large, gentle rain shower head. I climbed in the tank, closed the lid, and freaked. My chest constricted, and my breathing was shallow. I remembered, I tend to avoid small spaces and the edges of high balconies. This was the small spaces end of what sparked complex stories where I could funnel out some anxiety.

The tank lid was heavy. It required electricity to put up and down. “What if the power went out?” I thought. I put the lid up. It was warmer with it down. I put the lid down.I decided that I would use all the meditation skills that I knew to keep myself calm. “But what if the electricity went out?” thought was back repeating on a continuous cycle. “I am sure this is all regulated and there has to be an emergency generator and an emergency switch so they could get me out,” I reasoned. I decided that I would choose to focus my attention on listening to the second voice. The voice of safety.”But what if they are all dead? What if nuclear winter happens and only I survive because I am in this monster heavy clam shell floating in salt water?” Yep, I went there.

“Breathe. Breathe,” I said. At this point, I said all the positive thoughts out loud in an attempt to give them more power. “Stay calm. Remember they would not be in business if they did not follow the regulations, and there must be safety regulations. There has to be.”It was rough. It was emotionally uncomfortable. There were unrelenting thoughts of nuclear winter. There were a lot of practicing how not to let a story run. Practicing cutting the story off before it got to the following plot line—what would happen on the slow starvation path after nuclear winter.

I couldn’t seem to prevent the nuclear winter thoughts, but I could control whether the story went any further. After I was fairly calm, I realized that I did not make the reservations. I didn’t know how long I was scheduled to be in there. After an hour, the lid went up on its own. I took a shower. Got dressed. Went out to the front desk. It took me three days to return to normal. At least the new normal, for I was changed in some way, because after deep fears arise, and we allow them to run their course as best we can, they lose a little of their power. And like a retreat or a long meditation, something was released. Forever.

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