We got up early in the morning yesterday to head down to San Marcos for the day-long meditation intensive with Carlos Pomeda. I am a huge fan of Carlos and his teaching. He is totally clear, precise, compassionate and exacting. His commitment to the accuracy of the tradition, his dedication to practice and his humble, sincere manner is so inspiring to me. He is such an amazing example of the power of the practice and what it can yield in us over a lifetime.
He spent the day talking about fundamentals of meditation and gave us an very broad theoretical understanding of meditation as it has developed throughout the history of yoga and we had an opportunity to practice several different methods of meditation, which was really interesting. I enjoyed the day immensely and I got a lot out of his teachings, people's questions and sharing and the practices we explored. Equally delightful for me was the simple joy of just being with everybody for the dayoff . We started with a asana practice, had a morning session with Carlos, a potluck lunch and then an afternoon session. It was a mellow yet inspiring day.
One other thing of note about Carlos is he has an excellent capacity to meet people where they are and as the day progressed what was so cool was to watch the group drop pretense and posture and just ask sincere, heartfelt, and Real questions about their sadhana. I think Carlos is so unpretentious and so authentic himself that just being around him invites people to be that way themselves. I always feel a deep level of psychic relaxation around him because of this quality he has. And what was really cool was that when I sat this morning for meditation, I felt more focused and clear about what I was doing and about how to respond (or not respond) to what was arising.
There are lots of juicy nuggets from the day that I will be chewing on for a while. There was just so much packed in there on so many levels that the "unpacking" process will take some time. Here are a few gems:
- If you find yourself falling asleep in meditation, then get more sleep! However, there is a stage of consciousness that we go through on the way to samadhi that is very much like sleep but is not exactly sleep but we probably lack the capacity/vocabulary to describe it any other way. "To get to samadhi, you have to go through sleep"- Swami Muktananda
- Meditation is the practice of developing Self-awareness. It is not about the mind. If all of your attention is being directed at your mind, you will have none left for your awareness.
- Anything you do bears fruit, but remember there are different kinds of fruit.
- You do not have to give up your individuality. You have to give up your limited notion that that is all that you are.
- And how will you know you are more than your limited individuality if you never let go of it for a while?
- Playfulness is only one option in Tantra. Tantra is also very serious business. For tantra, both the light and the dark are Real. To represent only play is limiting. And to highlight play doesn't equip us to handle difficulty. The equanimity we seek in tantra, exists from what lies beyond light and dark, playfulness and seriousness.
- "taking a playful attitude" is not relevant to certain parts of our sadhana.
- As yogis, we are not after the mind. We are after the Self.
- You can be very deep in meditation and still the mind can be active. It is like being deep under water and knowing there are waves crashing at the surface.
- consciousness has to have a focal point, even if it is Itself.
- The emphasis is not on what you are witnessing but on The Witness.
- Non Duality does not ignore duality. No one can ignore duality or they do not know what they are talking about. (I wanted to tweet that one!)
- We have to start where we are at.
- In mantra meditation, we are working with sound not meaning. "It seems stupid from a logical, conventional viewpoint. But what is stupid from a yogic viewpoint is to remain restricted to meaning. We must escape the tyranny of meaning."
- If you follow sound, it will take you to silence.
- The Life Force knows how to heal. Given the right conditions, prana will heal.
- What makes meditation what it is is that it is a guided process, as opposed to a quite time with yourself or a period of relaxation.
- the place where you find resistance is the place of the greatest breakthrough.
- YOU GET NO EXTRA POINTS FOR SUFFERING.
- Samskaras live in the body. After all, they have no where else to live
- Meditation because it is there to be done and it is a good idea. Meditate because you are an evolving being and it is your practice. If you meditation to "feel good" or to "get high" then that reason will not sustain you through difficulty.
- Meditation is really quite simple. It is really just consciousness doing its thing which is Awareness. (I think I will tweet that one!)
All right, more soon.