Saturday, October 18, 2014

Daily Meditation as Archeologist: The Excavation of My Mind

Daily Meditation as Archeologist:
The Excavation of My Mind

My daily meditation practice has been a process of excavation. I sit, close my eyes, and begin to focus on my breath. I then bring my mantra to mind. I use mala beads to move from one recitation to the next. Once I have meditated on my mantra, I bring my awareness to-- my awareness. I watch as thoughts move into and out of my awareness.

I see them.

I imagine them as layers of sediment that I am carefully removing as I get closer to the center. My thoughts present in a sensational form. They are cloudy and I don’t bring them to clarity. I let them soften even more until I let them go.

Each thought seems to have another one just underneath- at least lately. There has been a lot on my mind. Meditation has helped me see quite clearly the many layers. I have a sense that, before I meditated regularly, all of these thoughts competed for awareness, a process that was quite taxing on my cognitive capacity. I often craved relief and would seek it in a glass of wine or some other escape.

As I have deepened my practice of yoga and moved toward a daily meditation, I have found that the physical grounding of asana (yoga poses), the calming of breath work (pranayama), and meditation allow me to see, become aware, of these layers as they truly manifest in my experience.

I have come to notice that being in inquiry about this, my thoughts, my choices, my actions and reactions is- in and of itself- powerful. I have become aware that there is nothing I need to fix or defend. That awareness and presence are sufficient.

They have an excavating effect. 

You may wonder what I am seeking- why dig? Why excavate? What else is there to know?

In essence, my meditation allows me to act as the archeologist of my mind. I excavate, see, and discover the nature of my mind through careful, reflective, awareness. Like an archeologist, this inquiry allows me to uncover the patterns of human behavior, my patterns, and my layers. This is empowering. I am left with self-knowing, the self-love that comes from caring practices toward the self, and calm presence.

Like the archeologist, I am in belief that under the layers there is an understanding. What I find will bring me closer to knowing the self (as an archeologist becomes closer to understanding the history of human kind).

Ultimately, I am in search of this space to which Victor Frankl refers -

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
 Victor Frankl

This is what I seek- this space, the power to choose, growth, and freedom- and layer-by-layer I get closer.

Catherine Cook-Cottone

The Yoga Bag


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