Jumping In To Meditation!

A quiet mind cureth all.” Robert Burton

After “just showing up” another philosophy of mine is to, “just jump in.” Once I have tried something I have generally found that it became easier thereafter. After all, how hard could five days of intensive meditation be?

Excited about conducting my own personal meditation experiments, I packed my suitcase and headed off to the meditation retreat The love of my life, George, had always been supportive of my goals and he wholeheartedly supported this latest endeavour.

From Calgary, he drove me to the mountains to drop me off at the retreat. On the way, he encouraged me to leave behind my watch, cell phone, Blackberry and any other references to work or daily life. It was surprisingly difficult to leave these items behind. I had become very attached to them, particularly my Blackberry. There have been days when I felt it was another appendage. Finally I compromised. I would keep the Blackberry in case of an emergency but keep it turned off. For the most part, I followed George’s instruction, and let go.

Once at the retreat, I kissed George farewell and turned my attention to the adventure facing me. After checking-in to the hotel, I soon found myself seated amongst at least 60 attendees, all strangers, and all fellow seekers of the truth.

For this particular meditation technique, we were instructed to contemplate a single question. Dyads would be used to explore the essence of that question. A dyad is when two people sit facing each other. One person asks the other person a question and then puts their full attention on that person as the other one contemplates their question. This was to be done in complete silence.

Once the other person was ready to voice their thoughts or describe whatever came to mind, then the other person would simply listen. No conversation or discussion was to occur between the two people. Other than the verbal contemplation where one person described what they were seeing or feeling in that moment, the meditation was completely silent. The goal of the technique was to remove all judgement and create a safe space for people to express whatever their experience happened to be. Without hesitation, we got right down to business.

Inspired by Buddha and many Tibetan Buddhist Lamas and Monks who were experts at meditation, I worked hard to be a good student and put all my energy and attention into the technique. Happily, under the conditions that the facilitators had created for the retreat, it became relatively easy for my mind to settle down.

By intensely concentrating on the meditation practice, I found myself slowing down both physically and mentally, until I reached a very restful state. Over time, I noticed my body seemed to move more slowly than usual. I even found myself walking and talking more slowly. My voice became noticeably softer and quieter. Having been an extroverted and chatty sales executive throughout much of my career, this was quite a change for me.