Virgin's Guide to Burning Man

A Virgin's Guide to Burning Man can be found here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Awakening

For those of you who don't know, the past few months I've started doing yoga, partly to be healthier but also partly because I felt I needed greater balance in my life. I've spent so much time chasing intellectual--and to some extent, spiritual--pursuits, but I've come to a point where I felt I really need to begin integrating the intellectual, the physical and the spiritual. I've turned more to Buddhist philosophy for guidance. Through the influence of my parents, especially my mom, Buddhism has always been in the background of my life but now I am making a conscious effort and decision to make it a bigger part of me.

Through yoga, I've slowly been learning to quiet my mind, to sit still and to have greater awareness and sensitivity to my self. But for the first few months I didn't feel quite ready to meditate. I didn't know how to keep my mind from drifting to other thoughts and I didn't quite know what to get from meditation or how to get it. The last few days though, I've started to feel ready for meditation. I got some great instructions from yogi Erich Schiffman ( and set aside about a half hour this morning to give it a shot.

Meditation combines sitting so you're comfortable, aligned, and grounded, finding your breath and going inside yourself and feeling what it is to be you, then opening yourself up to the universe. You begin to feel in tune with the world around you and the yogi suggested asking a question and listening for an answer. He explained what you'd be likely to feel and that you should try to carry this feeling with you through the rest of the day. However, all I had read and heard did not prepare me for what I actually experienced.

I set out some lemon grass scented candles, turned on a CD of ancient Sanskrit chants (which helps me stay focused and inside myself--and not paying attention to the gardeners mowing the lawn outside), closed my eyes and began to meditate. It took me several minutes to actually be able to quiet my mind and go inside myself. I had trouble getting totally aligned and comfortable and keeping my mind focused without straining. But then, once I was totally there, it was amazing how everything just clicked. Suddenly I felt light and there, but not totally's hard to explain, and no, I wasn't on drugs. :) I spent a couple of minutes just enjoying the sensation and then tentatively began to reach outward mentally and ask my question. I listened for a bit, then reached out a little more strongly and all of a sudden there was a rush. Answers and more questions, and more answers came flooding at me. My brain couldn't keep up and that was okay, I just felt the answers (because thinking takes far longer than feeling does) until they came to resolution. I was so excited and so overwhelmed, I could do nothing but just feel amazed and grateful. It was such an intense experience-similar only to some experiences I had at Burning Man. I sat for a few moments more to just absorb it all before opening my eyes again.

I realize this all sounds a little like hippy-dippy, granola talk, but I gotta say...those yogis know what they're talking about. I learned a lot from this little experiment and I hope I can carry those lessons forward through this day.

1 comment:

  1. Lol...yes the yogis really do know what they talking about. Glad you are enjoying yoga. I do too!


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