I’ve meditated for ten years, including two three-month silent retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. I would say we were silent 98% of the time.
When people hear about my quiet adventures, they literally don’t know what to say. And I haven’t been able to communicate my experiences very well.
This afternoon, I sat in my cozy mediation chair in my bedroom. I told myself to tell you afterwards what it was like. So here I am … feeling naked and unknowing. As much as I love writing, I don’t know what to say.
Trust. That’s become a large word for me. I trust myself. I trust my thumbs tapping on the phone screen. I trust that something good will proceed from right now and that this goodness will reach you.
Thoughts come. That’s the way it is. Deeper into the meditation there usually are larger spaces around the thoughts. That’s nice, but it’s not a goal to be sought. By grace comes the space.
Sometimes the body is tired. The large openness falls easily into a nodding off. This happened again and again today. The response is a smile, for the rhythms of life are to be respected.
As I settle into the silence, there may come a flow of energy across my face. There may be a “shimmering down”, a vibration that touches my head and seeks my toes. Beyond that may be an awareness of love, simply wafting outwards with no sense of destination. The love, when it’s given to me, brings a tiny smile to my lips and takes me by the hand to a realm without thought, without image, and yet infinitely full.
During the moments of immense sweetness, and yet with a matter-of-fact quality, I am fully alert to the physical world. There have been times when someone has spoken to me while the peace covers all. Happily, there was an acceptance here, with no sense of intrusion whatsoever.
Sometimes there’s music in my head … celestial melodies often accompanied by words:
Nowhere to go
Nothing to do
Nothing to know
And no one to be
Mostly though, the music floats away and there is silence. It’s as if a word such as “love” begins to separate in the air, and the letters are swirled away to the four corners of the universe.
Even though my hands are nestling each other on my lap as I meditate, there’s a sense of reaching out to the beings of this world … loving them, blessing them, wanting them to be happy. Somehow these wishes don’t form as conscious thoughts but I know they’re here.
My eyes know when my meditation is done, for they choose to open. My right hand reaches for the wooden mallet, and the singing bowl rings. Three times it is touched. For each, the sound fades to the merest vibration before the next tone appears.
And I wish … “Please may the shimmer stay with me throughout my day.” Often it does.