Sunday, January 31, 2010

Retreat Countdown: 24 Days

24 more days!  Amazing!  Exciting!  I am looking forward to the retreat and getting completely, totally, and unreachably, away from work.  I feel I am ready to take on this huge challenge.

Almost 2 weeks ago now, my knee began bothering me and has gradually gotten worse.  I am unable to sit with my left leg bent, although it is habit to do so and I keep finding myself with it tucked underneath me or in front of me.  I have a knee brace I've been wearing to help keep my knee straight and it seems to help.  I went ahead and made a doctor appointment to look at it though. I am hopeful I will not have to sit in a chair for the retreat, but the goal of the retreat is my mind, not my seat.

Due to my knee (and, honestly, poor time management on my part) I have not been sitting every morning and that's okay.  Sometimes we do good, sometimes we do okay.  As long as we do the best we can.

Last night was an amazing meditation experience in both sessions; each unique in experience.  During the 6 PM meditation Troy had some of his "trippy" cathedral-sounding music which went perfect with the crystal bowls he plays.  The music was more "floaty" than is his preference, but the bowls were able to offset most of the higher points in the music.  Most everyone in the group commented that it was a quick 45 minutes and they couldn't believe it was over.  We started at 6:18 and I rang the bowl at 7:04.  That is always the sign of a great group meditation when the time passes so quickly for people.  It means they were able to reach that nice, calm, peaceful spot that they needed to relax, without falling asleep.

It was a surprisingly large group as well.  There were 23 of us, counting Troy and I.  I hope it doesn't climb out of control and we have to start controlling the group through RSVP again.  I hate having to manage through RSVP because people will RSVP and not come without updating their RSVP.  Then people who can and would come, cannot because the RSVP list shows full. One of the reasons we choose to move to Saturday nights was so we could do two sessions in one day and serve more people.  I am extremely grateful that we can serve the needs of so many, but am even more excited to see people incorporating meditation into their daily lives.  I cannot describe the joy I feel when someone embraces meditation and practices.  As they describe to me their accomplishments and the improvements in their lives due to their practice, I KNOW their is hope for our people.  This is something I can only encourage, but each person must find it within themselves to practice.  Those who choose to do so and see improvements in their lives, can bring that to others who observe the changes in the individual.  Slowly, we can build a world with more peace, understanding, compassion, and love through meditation.

Back to the 6 PM meditation and my experience.  As Troy played the bowls, he would have the vibration of the bowls rise and fall with the music.  I found myself in a place without thought, just awareness of the sounds around me, the rise and fall of the music and the comforting drone of the bowls.  A couple of times I would suddenly became aware of my palms and forearms lying on top of my thighs and could feel a single-pointed, mindful awareness of the sensation of my forearms and palms resting on top of my thighs.  No thought - no judgement describing the sensation.  Just an overall, complete awareness of nothing but sensation.  I've never experienced anything like it that I remember.

The 8 PM meditation was our chanting meditation.  A much smaller group of 10, it's a nice, intimate setting for chanting.  When we first began there were only a few of us, so it is nice to watch the group grow with people who enjoy chanting together.  As we grow in number, our chanting syncs together and is more powerful each time. 

After our chanting session, we go around the room giving everyone the opportunity to discuss, or give feedback about, their experience. We are still sitting in the dark as we go around the room to maintain the atmosphere of peace and intimacy.  It is not unusual that I will sometimes see a glow around people after meditation as we sit in the dark.  I've wondered if it could be an aura, but am not really sure and lean on the side of science that it's just my eyes adjusting to shapes in the dark after having them closed for a period of time.

Last night, however, I had an experience that still baffles me.  As we go around the room, I look at each person as they speak.  That is when I usually see the "glow" around them.  Sometimes it will fade as they speak, some are higher away from the physical body than others.  But when I look from one person to the next, they always stay with that person, never moving with my eyes.  When I look at the next person, I may or may not see the glow around them.  (I was amazed to find the picture on the right because it is exactly what I see.  Although it is a manipulated image, if you click here or on the title of this blog you can go to the website giving one explanation of what might be happening to me.   

As we went around the room last night, I looked at one woman who had a very strong glow around her.  I looked at her as she spoke and moved my eyes to the person on her left.  As my eyes moved to the next person, I saw two distinct outlines of a body that were glowing in the same way that I would see someone if they were sitting there.  I kept moving my eyes back and forth and realized that I could see all four outlines, the two on the outside with the physical bodies and the two in the center without physical bodies.  I still don't know what to make of it.

Am I truly seeing auras?  There aren't any colors and most are only inches away from the people.  They are more of a whitish/silverish glow that fades to a black that is thicker in some than in others.  I can only see them when sitting in a dark or semi-dark room and when I am very relaxed.

One of the things meditation is teaching me is acceptance and allowing.  Allowing means, we don't have to know the reason or understand why.  We just allow it to be what it is without judgement or definition.

Please comment and let me know what you think about what I'm seeing.


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