In our third day of the last session of Ashtanga training, we practiced silence. We sat in silence. We walked in silence. Two and a half hours of alternating sitting meditation and walking meditation.
We were only told of this set-up when the session began last Saturday. I thought to myself – Well, I have turned off the radio in my car for the past week. How hard can it be?
The first two days driving around town felt odd. The first day of driving to the city felt stranger. I can hear the clickety-clack of asphalt hitting the bottom of my car from newly paved potholes. The trucks sound larger and you hear the whipping wind when you go passed them. I admire the strength of the North wind as it bellows down the highway; not like when you only feel the struggle against it on your steering wheel. I began to appreciate the silence inside my car so I may listen to the world around me.
When I do attempt to turn on the radio, I can only last for about five minutes before turning it off again. Any station seem to be just blah-blah-blah.
Meditation is different. There may be silence in my car but my focus is in driving.
We have been meditating everyday. The longest being about 45 minutes. So to meditate the rest of the afternoon… the wondering rumbled and grumbled in my head.
By the time we got to only our second part of sitting, something started swooshing inside me and I panicked. I tried to fight it deepening my breaths. The swooshing only got stronger. I wasn’t even afraid of the North wind in the highway, yet here we are, inside the peppermint confinement of our studio room, and I got scared.
Tears began to well up and I began getting angry with myself. How many seconds or minutes of fighting, I don’t know until I couldn’t breathe anymore. I stood up and walked out of the room. Sat on the stairs leading to the basement studios and just cried.
I don’t even know why or what. The only thing I realize then is I am angry about everything that are really nothing.
When I began to breathe a little bit more, I returned to my Mysore rug and sat with the rest of the class. The tears didn’t stop… but I was able to continue to focus on my breathing as the tears fall. I even noticed that I can actually shed tears with only one eye. I’d walk with dried tears on my cheeks and neck feeling the saline tighten my skin. The tears continued on the third sitting, fourth sitting… but they were becoming less and less.
When we recapped and shared our piece about the experience, Jonathan, my instructor said that the lessening of the tears as we continue to sit and meditate is the lesson. Nothing is permanent and we only need to observe on how the changes happen. Whether we are feeling sorrow or joy, we need to accept it as is and let it go. The more we sit with our emotions, the more at ease we become, the more peace can ease our hearts.
We tend to think that to alleviate any emotion is to distract ourselves. When in fact the only sure way to come out of it is to face whatever we are feeling head on, ego out of the way. The blast can be shocking and stupefying; but we only need to absorb the blast, let it be, then let it go. Because it will go…
When it does come back??
You already know it will eventually change.