ANICCA TO ALTERED STATES
Day three and six was like driving on the highway full speed with my hands tied behind my back. What I learned was that even with my mind right out of control, I still had the ability to sit through it.
I stared down at my dishevelled meditation throne and stifled a laugh as it evidently reflected my state to a T. The 3×3, cushy, piece of real estate had become my primary domain of existence. It changed form in various ways to support me through my purification. I straightened my back and sucked in a deep, shaky breath and settled in with a slow exhale.
There’s a powerful container of energy created within a group when sitting together with a common intention. We held each other in our collective struggle to be the equanimous witness of our inner workings.
I loved the silence. It was such a relief to take communication completely out of the picture. The deep sense of camaraderie felt between the meditators came not from knowing each other’s stories, but from the common denominator to find solace within. Without the use of words there was no need to find the slot where I fit in. To be in their presence without having to make something of it was an authentic experience I cherished.
Through practice, I began to understand the simple yet profound truth about Anicca; the law of impermanence. I challenged myself to sit through a 2 hr block without changing my position to test the principle of change. Over and over again I was seduced by habitual thought patterns, distractions, reactions and excuses to abort my intent.
When my body registered pain, my mind immediately gave me escape options. Change positions, go to the bathroom, skip the rest of the meditation, you don’t have to do this… The throbbing nerve pain in my legs, the pins and needles in my feet, the sharp stabbing beneath my shoulder blade, my head that felt like a 100-pound weight compressing down on my spine gave me every reason to quit. Time and time again, I came back to the Vipassana technique- screening my body parts bit by bit with all the detached attention I could muster.
As thoughts became more spacious, I discovered subtler sensations. I attuned to varying degrees of vibrations, variances in temperature and currents of energy. I followed sensations like a detective. Changes began to reveal themselves in the most amusing way. When I came back to acute areas, I noticed a shift in it’s quality. Like the pulsing was more distant, or the stabbing was duller, or the temperature was not as hot… I noticed new areas with louder sensations and sometimes pain disappeared all together. This discovery thwarted my misery and brought on curiosity and excitement. Before I knew it, the gong rang. I did not move for 2 hrs. I crossed the threshold.
On the seventh day, I experienced something extraordinary during the four-hour block. The moment my seat touched my cushion, magnetic energy locked me in. There wasn’t even a little bit of shuffling or adjusting to get comfortable. My eyelids softly closed and cradled my eyeballs to fall back into its sockets. My breath immediately fell into a deep, relaxing, rhythm and my attention rested on the Anapana breath between the wings of my nostrils. I just let myself rest there. There was pure contentment in not needing anything.
I felt a warm, incredibly euphoric feeling bubbling up from the base of my belly and moving upwards. I don’t want to taint what I experienced but, I can only relate the feeling to a prelude of a great Ecstacy high. I felt held in a container of bliss and everything was just perfect as is. Unlike the narcotic Ecstacy, there wasn’t the synthetic force of bliss making behind the feeling. It felt so organic and wholesome. My body was in complete homeostasis. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t really embodying my body, it was as if I was feeling it from a distance. There was no physical edge to my experience. I became a vessel- open to waves of beautiful breaths moving in and out. It would fill the space of my being then rest in what felt like an eternal pause before emptying effortlessly out. My awareness was complete with the expansiveness of what was happening.
I stayed in that space without the constraints of linear time. Even though I was completely in an exalted state, there was no attachment to the feeling of anticipating anything else. There was a certainty in that experience that I AM Soul. Is this death? Some call it “The Unified Field”, that’s exactly what it felt like. Somewhere else but of the same, I felt tears streaming down my face.
Suddenly, I knelt in meditation in a completely different environment in what felt like a different time. I was in a small, simple room with my palms gently resting on my thighs in the exact same state. The recognition that this person was me was absolute. I was there for a split second then I was back in the hall with an unshakable certainty that I had practiced Vipassana in another life.
The bell rang. I sat there awestruck. My logical mind could not grasp what Soul knew. I sat still not wanting to disturb my transcendent state. I stayed there until it changed.
LESSON: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
― Alan Wilson Watts
“Transcendence”- Acrylic on Canvas by Maasa