This evening I read post by Annie about peace descending on her when she spent a week in a place by the sea. Our inherent nature is peace, just as it is love, compassion, beauty, generosity, joy and wisdom. Nature shows us all this, if we can take the time to be present, to open our senses and begin to perceive who we really are.
I will be teaching a meditation class with new people next week, so I am thinking about how to explain something so simple yet so profound. Sitting with nature, sharing love, or meditating are excellent ways to discover that we do not end at the visual boundary of our skin. When we pay attention we discover awareness radiates out endlessly beyond and into the body in every direction; this is a hint about our real nature, we are life, we are It, whatever It is. The mind tries to jump in with its own importance, questions and rationalisations, but if you reassure it that all is well you can slip back into simply being One. So much more peaceful than being two, you and It.
When practising yoga nidra (a powerful tantric form of meditation) we spend time sensing each of the koshas or ‘bodies’, staying as alert and present as we can, even though we are lying down. Buddha said to start with the senses, being mindful of everything that enters our sense doors, so we do. Attention is carefully guided around the body, then into the energy body by following the breath. Concentration is developed through counting the breaths for while, and when the pranic body is fully awakened we move on with our senses to the emotional body of feelings. Now we notice what is present, or focus our attention on a feelings such as heaviness/ lightness, or happiness/sadness, creating opportunities for healing and harmony to do their work. Similarly yoga nidra takes us to the mind; thoughts and beliefs are all examined as part of this simple but profound meditation. Through all this we learn to ‘pan out’ so that as well as being aware of all we are doing in our mediation we notice that we are awareness itself. Not separate. Joy tingles through every cell of the body, everything smiles, inside and out … mmm yoga nidra is delicious!
Thanks for being patient while I tried out a few thoughts. Usually I have only taught yoga nidra to my yoga students, where most of us already have some common understanding. Of course my first class will be mostly practical, and I have worked out some basics that must be covered. I will let you know how it goes; we are hoping it will turn into a monthly meditation in town after we return from our trip to the Kimberley.
If you are interested to learn more about the simple practice and transformative power of yoga nidra I can recommend recordings by Richard Miller and Kelly Boys titled iRest at Ease. As part of my work I will be recording each session and making it available to students for their home practice … a new skill I am working on!