Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Glimpses of Reality

(Deepest apologies dear blog friends. I was away on retreat last week but had set this blog up to post on Wed. but apparently my techno skills are lacking and it was not posted.)

 One day last week as I did my mediation practise something happened. Oh, it started off like every other morning. After my prayers, I do ten minute of alternate nostril breathing (a method that calms and resets the nervous system) and then move into twenty minutes of just following the breath, allowing thoughts to drift past. I do this twice a day, having discovered that that serves my particular body-mind-heart-spirit better than a longer once a day meditation.

Of course, no meditation is uneventful. Some days monkey mind runs rampant, reviewing the past and planning the future, list making, obsessing about old grievances or new worries, hoping, wishing, critiquing, questioning. . .  and I have to gently bring my attention back to my breath over and over.

And then there are days, moments, breaths that are soaked in grace when I live exclusively inside the sensation of being filled and emptied, when my attention is anchored in the breath. I think of this as dropping down into an inner silence, a deep well of stillness although I am aware of the movement of my body as it expands and lifts and then drops with each inhale and exhale. It is paradoxical that there is this movement at the centre of the stillness- or perhaps this stillness at the centre of the movement.

But this morning, sitting in the centre of the flow of the breath, I noticed something else. I noticed that there was another movement beneath the breath- the movement caused by the beating of my heart. Subtle but constant I could feel the soft pulsing of my heart gently moving my spine, reverberating throughout my entire body. And so there were two movements: of the breath and of the heartbeat.  Beneath this, I could sense smaller, gentler pulses- movements of fluid in the body, electromagnetic pulses of the nervous system. . .  And slowly all of these pulses, although separate, came into alignment with the powerful heart pulse.

And then. . . . there was something larger, deeper. . . . a pulse that was both within me and yet larger than myself, a pulse that was running through the earth beneath me, the trees outside my window, the air around me. I felt it more than heard it and slowly. . . . my heart beat came into alignment with this larger pulse that seemed to hold all that is. 

I sat there within the awareness of this great holy pulse without thought for what seemed simultaneously like forever and as if for a nanosecond. Time felt meaningless in this place. There were no thoughts, until I thought, “Wow, that was great!” and was once again aware of a particular inhale and exhale, of the cushion beneath me and the sound of dogs barking in the park.

There was a time when I would have berated myself for allowing thought to pull me out of this experience of the great pulse of Being, of Life. But this morning I threw back my head and laughed out loud. I have come to see the human life we are given- the one with physical limits and runaway thoughts and infinite sensations- as a gift to be embraced and not a trial to be endured. And I am filled with gratitude for both this life and for the glimpses into something I cannot name that creates all of what is in every instance, holding us, sustaining us and, by grace, giving us glimpses of another level of this reality we are.

Just as the strong pulse of my heart brings the other smaller pulses of my body into alignment, I sense (sometimes know or believe and, at moments, hope) that this larger pulse that is the heartbeat of the Sacred Wholeness that includes it all, can pull us into alignment with it if we are willing. And from that place of alignment perhaps we can find our way into living sustainably on this magnificent planet.

Oriah (c) 2013


  1. Wow, what a great experience you are describing! In my humble perception, I would say that it was not just alignment, but also a kind of enlightenment. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing that experience Oriah, I think it's so important because it would help people honor each others experience, since so often we can be caught in a psychological interpretation of how to practice without touching into our direct experience even with our spiritual friends.

    I had a similar experience years ago, and I have to say it was just grace - I was just sitting in a room, and on the subtlest shift of attention I suddenly saw how everything was alive, including the wall of the room. It touched me so deeply that I broke down in tears, and the words that came is it's falling in love with the world, or I guess you can say existence. Fortunately I was part of a supportive community at the time, but it seems more and more people are having awakenings and my hope is there can be that support for all of them.

    1. Mark, yes I have had a similar experience- where I was aware of the molecular energy of everything (which actually appeared wavy- including the ground!) And yes, these experiences are grace- we can be available to them but we cannot MAKE them happen. Lovely.