Discover more from 70 Years Old. WTF!
A couple of hours ago I finished a meditation session, the second of the day. Each was a 10-minute meditation, guided by Sam Harris, then 20 minutes of timed meditation. Just me and my conscious experience.
It started this way:
So take your seat and close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensation of sitting. Notice how the body appears in consciousness and see if you can relinquish the shape of the body. If you feel its shape, pay closer attention to each sensation as it arises.
He’s given instructions like before, something like “experience the body as a cloud of sensations.” and this time I got it. The “tension in my neck” changed. It was the same feeling of tension, but a “tension in my conscious experience.” There was no neck.
Words don’t convey the feeling of suddenly being a not-quite-embodied consciousness. It was strange, and it was freeing. I know there’s more to come.
It was exciting.
Going to France
Imagine that you’ve always wanted to go to France—Paris, in particular. You’ve read everything you could about it—geography, history, culture. You learned the language. You’ve spent hours looking at pictures and reading guidebooks. You know all the facts.
You’ve read what people who have been to France have written. You’ve learned about their feelings—the ones they say are unique to being in France and being in Paris.
You’ve heard them describe the emotions that they associate with no other place on Earth.
You yearn to see those sights and feel those feelings.
You have similar emotions—you think. You’ve been to places that have evoked feelings similar to what they’ve described—you think. So you have a kind of understanding of what they might have felt—you think.
You can imagine what you think the experience might be.
But you’ve never had the experience.
And then, one day, you close your eyes, and when you open them, it seems to you that you are in what is unmistakably a small French village. Not Paris, but still.
What you experience is part of what you’ve read about and heard about. Everything is familiar. It’s what you’ve been seeking.
You know that you’re closer to Paris than you’ve ever been—and the next time you open your eyes, you might be there.
Today was like that.
I’ve read a lot about meditation, about the kinds of experience that people have.
I’ve read what people have said about their feelings when they’ve experienced the things I’ve read about.
I understand the theory.
But the closest I’ve come to the experience I’ve sought has been occasional momentary flashes of “waking up.”
They’ve been a foretaste.
And today I found myself that much closer to what I had been seeking.
As I sat—without a body, in a cloud of sensations—the sensations of sitting and of breathing were more precise than ever.
Thoughts arose—and almost always passed away within the space of an in-breath or an out breath.
And my mind never wandered after my thoughts carrying me along as is usual.
I present. I was not entirely clear-minded for the entire twenty minutes, but I was present for more extended moments than ever before.